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FM14: ACF Fiorentina - Forza Viola


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The ACF Fiorentina FM14 Thread

Where flair and creativity are the order of the day.

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5 reasons to play a Fiorentina save.

I've always put these at the top of my Werder threads and this is no different, so if you don't have a lot of time, this is the sales pitch :

  1. Giuseppe Rossi and Mario Gomez on the same forward line, yes please.
  2. A backline built around the concept of 3 CD's, yet flexible enough to accommodate a stock standard back 4.
  3. A midfield comprised of creativity, the silky skills of Borja Valero, Alberto Aquilani and David Pizarro to build a possession based tactic around
  4. The wide men. Cuadrado especially bombing forward to support the attack. The team has some exemplary wing backs, who can play other positions if required.
  5. Depth and flexibility. A team tailor made for a 3-5-2, yet flexible enough to play a 4-4-2, a 4-2-3-1 or even a 4-3-3. The board has no defined philosophies at the start, the blank canvas is yours.

Quick Analysis

This is a strong, exciting squad built around playing possession football in a 3-5-2 system. At the start of the game there is a generous transfer balance of 5.9 million pounds, although the wage budget is empty. If you require more funds, there are a number of sale-able assets in the squad, and at least 1 high wage player you can hopefully get rid of to give you some room.

Tactically Vicenzo Montella has created a vibrant and flexible squad, with a back 3 who are all comfortable on the ball, a central midfield based around keeping possession of the ball as the team moves up the park, wide men both capable in defence and skilled flowing forward, and at the front, well, Giuseppe Rossi and Mario Gomez are both well known names in world football for a reason. The team also boasts a number of potential stars of the future both on the fringes of the first team and in the youth set up.

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Club History

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For a full detailed history of the club, please visit : http://en.violachannel.tv/history-fiorentina.html

The origins of football in Florence date back a long way, with records showing the Florence Football Club was originally founded in 1898. Although this club disappeared into history, two local sporting organizations formed their own football teams and these were merged in 1926 to form the Associazione Fiorentina del Calcio (the Fiorentina Football Association).

This original team played in the lower Italian leagues before finally forcing their way into the top division in 1931. The club collected it's first trophy winning the Italian Cup in 1940. The war would obviously cause great disruption to football, but the club endured in one form or another and in 1956 won their first Scudetto.

The club has won a total of 2 scudetti, as well as winning the Italian cup 6 times, and winning a European Cup Winner's cup. The club's last successes were winning the Italian cup and Italian Super Cup in 2001.

In the 2001-2 season, the club went into complete meltdown and were relegated, this was quickly followed by bankruptcy and the club disappeared when they couldn't pay the Serie B registration fees. Local businessman Diego and Andrea Della Valle quickly moved to form Florentia Viola, and were allowed registration into Serie C2, and with the help of a number of former Fiorentina players, the club were immediately promoted. They skipped Serie C1 due to a bizarre situation where Serie B was expanded to 24 clubs owing to irregularities at the end of the previous season, and during this off-season, the club bought the right to use the traditional Fiorentina name, logo and distinctive purple strip. The season in Serie B resulted in qualification for the playoffs and by defeating Perugia, a return to Serie A was assured.

After avoiding relegation their first season back in Serie A, the club steadily improved under the guidance of Cesare Prandelli, peaking with 4th place finishes in 2008 and 2009 leading to Champion's League football.

After Prandelli left to coach the national team, the club slipped somewhat, with mid-table finishes the next 3 years and no European football. Prior to the 2012 season, Vicenzo Montella was installed as the coach and an overhaul of the squad ensued, with only Manuel Pasqual and Stevan Jovetic remaining in the starting eleven from the last Champion's league appearance. The changes in personnel and style resulted in a 4th place finish, with the team narrowly missing out on a Champion's League place on the final day of the season.

This past off-season has seen the departure of Jovetic to Manchester City, but this has been balanced out with the arrival of Rossi in January, and Mario Gomez in the off-season. Players such as Massimo Ambrosini and Josip Ilicic were bought in to add depth and variety to the squad and give them a good base for Europa League football this year.

Stadium, Staff and Facilities.

Fiorentina play their football at the Stadio Artemio Franchi, which was built in 1931 and holds 47290 fans at full capacity, though it's in game capacity is listed as 43000. The club boasts great training facilities and good youth facilities.

Daniele Prade is the current Director of Football and has shown himself to be an astute judge of talent, bringing in a number of players considered to be surplus to requirements or failures at other clubs and finding them a good fit for the club. Daniele Russo is the current Assistant manager and Eduardo Macia the current head of youth development. Both seem well suited to their roles as does chief scout Roberto Ripa.

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Club Analysis

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The more recent history of Fiorentina is really being defined by a revival under Vicenzo Montella. After taking over a mid table team before the start of last season, a redefined playing philosophy coupled with some extremely astute recruitment has seen the club return to the sharp end of the Serie A, finishing fourth last year, missing the Champion's League by mere minutes. The club is qualified for the Europa League and currently playing in the group stages of that competition.

Players like David Pizarro, Stefan Savic and Alberto Aquilani were purchased for peanuts prior to the start of last season(especially when you consider Liverpool paid almost 18 million pounds for Aquilani). These players and others have been revived in Montella's 3-5-2, playing high pressing, possession football. The loss of attacking talent in Stevan Jovetic and Adam Ljajic hasn't seemed to bother the side much, with savvy recruitment filling the gaps in the squad with the likes of Mario Gomez, Josip Ilicic, Joaquin and Giuseppe Rossi now charged with the responsibilities of ensuring the ball winds up in the right net.

The start to this season has been somewhat more challenging, Mario Gomez and Juan Cuadrado picked up injuries and this has forced Montella to switch his formations around to rely more on a single striker and less on his marauding right side wing back, but the depth and versatility of the squad have come to the fore. In the near recent history, a come from behind victory over old rivals Juventus has already provided some magical moments this season and hopefully, more are to come.

Squad Analysis

Goalkeepers

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Neto – Current number one goalkeeper at the club. He's young and definitely has room to improve but a serviceable option to start with. If you're uncomfortable with him, this is definitely a place that could be upgraded.

Lupatelli & Munua - Both backups, Munua is an option if you don't like Neto as the starting keeper.

Central Defence

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Rodriguez – The man at the heart of the defence. Rodriguez is the rock around which the defence is built and still, he has some skill going forward as well. He could easily be deployed as a central defender or as a sweeper. He has the ball skills to be a libero if that is the formation of choice.

Roncaglia – Able to be used as a central or right defender, probably the more limited of the options in defence. Best deployed in the middle of defence to stay and home and hold the fort whilst more creative options look to aid the attack.

Savic – Signed as part of the swap deal for Matija Nastasic he has grown in his time at Fiorentina. A good young central defender who still has room to improve, Savic is possibly a mainstay of the defence for the better part of the next decade, and is a well rounded defender.

Tomovic – Once again a well rounded piece of the defence, Tomovic can be deployed in the middle of defence or on the right. If a 4 man backline is preferred, Tomovic is likely the best option at right back due to his ability to play the ball, otherwise, he can be used as part of the standard central trio.

Compper – Whilst he lacks some of the ball skills of the other defenders in the squad, Compper has good physical abilities which allow him to fill a role in the centre of defence or on the left.

Hegazy – Starts the game injured, and is at best a backup when fit.

The Wide Men

Both wing backs and wingers are listed here, whilst the base formation of the squad is to use Pasqual and Cuadrado as wing backs, there is no reason Pasqual couldn't be deployed as a left back in a back four formation with more advanced wingers.

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Pasqual – Current captain of the football club. At age 31 he's the first choice on the left side of the park at the moment. Whilst he lacks the raw pace and attacking skills of Cuadrado, he makes a good wingback and is very skilled at crossing the ball. Obviously in the latter part of his career, still a good first choice.

Cuadrado – One of the bright spots of the team, he has attracted a lot of attention from abroad. Cuadrado has a great burst of speed and the dribbling skills to match. Although listed as an attacking right midfielder, he can be played as a wingback and his speed generally covers for his lack of defensive positioning and marking skills. His greatest value is driving at defender's and opening space for teammates.

Alonso – Heir apparent to Pasqual, he has good defensive skills, and some ability going forward as well. Time on the field will increase as Pasqual moves into the twilight of his career.

Joaquin – A seemingly odd pick up in the off season given the presence of Cuadrado, but Joaquin can add to the team in a number of ways. His creativity and decision making skills, coupled with his ability to dribble, cross, and pass the ball make him a versatile tool in the lineup, able to be played either as a right winger, or on the left as an inside forward, or even in the attacking midfield slot as a playmaker or shadow striker.

Vargas – At his best, Vargas has given me some good FM memories in previous versions. Versatile and able to play anywhere on the left side of the park, now he mostly fills in behind Pasqual. He's lost a step over the years (and put on some weight). Still useful, but his wages are a bit silly at 43000 per week.

Ryder – Youngster starting to force his way into the first team set-up. Ryder is able to play pretty much anywhere in the front half of the park, even possessing the skills to fill in up front if the situation calls for it. He still has a long way to go developmentally, but a valuable youngster to add to the team.

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Central Midfield

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Valero – Another ex-Villareal man (like Rossi and Rodriguez). One of the first names on the teamsheet, he patrols the middle of the park. Great technique and passing skills combined with his fantastic anticipation and creativity allow him to be the crux of many attacks, whilst still being a solid defensive presence in the middle of the park.

Aquilani – Rebuilding his reputation after a much maligned stint at Liverpool. When fit and healthy, he's shown his value on a number of occasions. Whilst not quite the creative presence that Valero is, his skill and mental attributes make him a perfect partner in the middle of the park, working around others to help keep possession. Aquilani can be deployed in a number of roles, either as a playmaker or a box to box midfielder.

Ambrosini – Once again a seemingly odd signing given his age and injury proneness, Ambrosini was bought for a single reason, defence. Whilst he has always possessed good ball skills, he was bought to Fiorentina to fill the enforcer role, harassing the opposition in the middle of the park and taking some of the pressure off of his fellow central midfielders. Even at 36 he makes a valuable enforcer in the middle of the pitch.

Pizarro – Another player seemingly rejuvenated at Fiorentina after being surplus to requirements elsewhere. Pizarro is a very technically gifted midfielder, with good passing and vision giving the team another asset in the middle of the pitch who can keep possession or just as easily pick up a marauding wing back with a pin point pass. Pushing on into his mid-30s, he likely still has a couple of good years left.

Ilicic – A good pick up from Palermo Ilicic is best used either as an attacking midfielder or left winger. He moves well off the ball and has good technical skills, making him perfect as an attacking midfielder or even as a shadow striker behind the front line.

Olivera – Mostly considered a backup, Olivera is still a well rounded midfielder, capable of filling multiple roles in the team, and adding depth in case of injury (you know... Ambrosini, Aquilani, Rossi... someone's gonna get hurt).

Attack

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Gomez – It's Mario Gomez, he's quite possibly the least flexible member in the squad in that, he's a striker, and will never be anything else. But why would you want him anywhere else? Gomez will lead the line for your team either as an Advanced forward, poacher, or target man. Quick and with amazing anticipation, he can be the focal point of the attack whilst all the other parts move around him. At wages of 120k per week, I hope he scores some goals. 120k... that's more than the wages of the 6 central defender's listed earlier combined, 120k... a LOT of goals.

Rossi – My how a couple of injuries change a career. Rossi combines decent physical ability with ridiculous technical and attacking skills. Best played as either a trequartista or false nine he has the ability to tear defences apart on his own. Poor natural fitness and a tendency to injury make him frustrating at times, but when he's on his game, he is a difference maker, able to turn a game on it's head. One of the first names on the teamsheet when fit.

Fernandez – Whilst he lacks the all around game of his central midfield counterparts, Fernandez brings a more aggressive attacking option to the team. Preferring to be deployed further forward, he does his best work as an advanced playmaker or even trequartista in behind the forwards.

Rebic – Youngster bought late in August, he has a high upside and provides cover for Gomez and Rossi in case of injury. Already possessing great skill on the ball and good movement off it, Rebic still has a lot of room to improve. He's versatile enough to play on either wing or up front, providing cover in mutiple roles, looks like a star of the future.

Wolski – Another youngster starting to make his mark on the first team squad. Wolski can play in either the attacking midfield slot or on either wing as required and will get more game time as he continues to grow.

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Tactical Analysis

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Montella has built a squad around the 3-5-2 without a doubt. It is based around pressing high up the pitch, and keeping possession of the ball. In defence most of the central defender's are extremely astute with the ball at their feet, Gonzalo Rodriguez in particular able to push forward and add some impetus to the attack.

In the midfield, Borja Valero, Alberto Aquilani and David Pizarro proved last season that they can do an impressive job of keeping control of the ball in the middle of the park, and then supply it to outlets on the wing, or further up the pitch. The wings are dominated by Cuadrado and Pasqual, as they push forward, the back three spread to cover and allow them to provide width to attacking moves.

In the front third of the pitch, Mario Gomez is the focus, while Giuseppe Rossi is mostly left to float between the lines and be a creative force. Although this has been tempered somewhat with Gomez injury, players such as Joaquin and Matias Fernandez have been able to slot in behind Rossi and still provide some attacking flair, and focus up forward.

Other Tactical Options.

As has been previously stated, injuries etc can require some adjustments to the tactical layout of the squad and these are just a few of the possible options. The squad has multiple players to cover every position so there really is no right answer as to how best to deploy them.

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4-2-3-1

Utilising Rossi in behind Gomez as either a Trequartista or Shadow Striker, this formation requires the use of a 4 man backline, and Aquilani makes way for Joaquin to come in as the second pure winger/inside forward. Obviously this is currently a popular choice for a lot of teams

4-3-2-1

This formation has been more utilised in the absence of Gomez. By pushing Valero into a wider role on the left, it gives a little bit more defensive solidity, whilst still keeping an advanced midfield triangle behind the striker. The likes of Ilicic, Matias Fernandez and Joaquin really give some flexibility to the front third, giving the choice of players who run at the defence, and those that pass through.

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4-1-3-2

For those of you that love the halfback role. Ambrosini has fantastic defensive skills to go along with his midfield talents, and could easily fill the halfback role, allowing a back 4 with marauding wing backs, could easily be adjusted to a narrow diamond, or a 4-3-3.

5-3-2 Libero

Built more to utilise Rodriguez from the back, Ambrosini is deployed in place of Aquilani just to give a bit of extra defensive cover.

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4-6-0

Kinda speaks for itself. I don't entirely like strikerless formations myself, but Valero, Ilicic, Rossi and Cuadrado all have the ball skills and creativity to make it work.

3-6-1

Basically the Libero formation, but with an extra defensive midfielder deployed and the second striker pulled into a shadow striker/creative role behind the frontman.

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My Save.

So the initial expectations of the board were for us to make the European Places, at our initial squad meeting I challenged my players with expectations of Champion's League Football, which led to positive responses from all but one player, and the guy that didn't like it found himself loaned out within the first week.

So I had pretty much decided I wanted to try and run with the wingbacks as much as I could and this is the stock formation I've used for most of the first half of the season.

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Transfer priorities at the start were pretty mixed, I like the squad, but for all the good memories, Juan Vargas and his 43k per week in wages had to go, as did Olivera, as he was deemed surplus to requirements. A number of offers were made for Aquilani and at 5.5 million(including Liverpool, I laughed at the thought of the riot if that ever actually happened), I wasn't about to knock them back, he was duly sold to Porto. My DoF took care of Vargas and Olivera for me, and no one was overly upset by the proceedings. As far as the incoming transfers, one of my new scouts alerted to me to a promising young lad from Argentina named Gaston Gil Romero, who I duly paid too much money for and then loaned back to his old club for the season, but he looks promising as a physical battling midfielder, possibly a box to boxer going forward.

Late in the window I became aware that Fernando has been transfer listed by Porto, and I bought him based on previous experiences with other clubs. Not the flashiest of players, I love the teeth he brings to the middle of the park, having to pay his agent almost 900k for his 20% share was annoying, but the deed was done.

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Christmas Season 1

I can't say I've been displeased with the results thus far as we made it to Christmas time sitting in 3rd place in Serie A. Too many draws, and I'm still working out the new tactical systems, but some really enjoyable matches, especially beating Juventus 3-1. Of late the team has been grinding a lot of results out, recent injuries to Mario Gomez and Giuseppe Rossi obviously put a big dent in our goalscoring capabilities. The last game before Christmas I actually had to use Ilicic as my striker simply because Gomez, Rossi, and Rebic were all hurt.

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This happened in November :

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So we may have to see if we can make a few shrewd purchases in January to shore up the weak areas of the squad.

This is how the squad looks currently :

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As you can see, the bulk of our goalscoring has come from the Gomez/Ilicic/Rossi triangle at the front. I'll discuss the performances of a few players specifically.

Gomez - He has been played as a Target Man - Attack, to give the offense a focal point. I tried him as an Advanced Forward and Poacher but he kept getting the ball in bad areas of the pitch so as a Target Man he's done well staying in the middle, finishing off moves with his head and his feet.

Rossi - I finally settled on using him as a False Nine, and it's served him well, getting the ball in areas of the pitch where he can work, and 8 goals/7 assists is what I would call a good return so far.

Ilicic - 6 goals/4 assists in 19 games. He's been solid as a shadow striker, and at times as a box to box midfielder. I still think I should be getting more out of him, but can't complain so far.

Neto - I don't like seeing my goalkeeper as one of my highest rated players, tends to make me think that my defense isn't very good, but he's done a great job so far.

Cuadrado/Pasqual - Have both done really well as wingbacks, Cuadrado obviously with 7 assists already, most of them simply putting the ball on Mario Gomez head. Pasqual has owned the entirety of that side of the pitch, whilst there have still been a few too many assists coming in behind Cuadrado for my liking, I guess that's the trade off of having an attacking wing back.

Pizarro/Ambrosini - These two guys have disappointed me greatly. When they've been on the park, things just aren't happening and I've usually found those results being either draws or grinding 1-0 results.

Alonso/Compper - These two are major liabilities for me. Alonso has made as many errors in 9 games as Pasqual has made in 19. Compper simlarly seems to be getting beaten far too often, I'm not sure he's flexible enough to play in a back 3 but such is life.

Going Forward

I don't want to waste my transfer budget in January. Ideally I would like to pick up another striker on loan, and possibly some midfield help. Mounir El Hamdaoui comes back from loan at the end of the season, so buying another striker doesn't make sense. I tried to sign Oliver from Atletico, but they aren't budging, so I may be trying to keep some of my transfer funds available for that. I'll also be scouting hard for good youngsters, I still have the ability to bring in another non-EU player from outside Europe this year and since we only get 2 per season, I don't want to waste that. The Gomez/Rossi combination is great, and whilst I still need to be better about defending the wings, the Cuadrado/Pasqual combo is fun too. Fernando has been playing better of late as he's finally settled in, and Valero is just keeping things ticking in the middle of the park.

Defensively, the back three still need some tweaking, and we need to add a little bit of depth up front. I'll keep posting below in the thread and see how we go from here.

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Nice thread. It's great to play three at the back in this fm, the wide cb's actually cover the wings!

Many good youngsters in the u18’s?

Absolutely, Leonardo Capezzi for a start, my coaches expect big things from him, same with Saverio Madrigali. A couple of the young goalkeepers Pagnini and Lezzerini look good, and whilst I know it's likely randomly generated at the start of the game, chances are at least some of the youngsters will push through and make it to the first team squad. Even some of the 21 year old guys on loan like Salifu and Agyei look to have some potential.

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Great thread. I really enjoyed your Bremen thread last year as well. Had a Napoli game in the Beta and started a Leverkusen save but now I am looking for a new save with the release version. This might be it as I have never played with Fiorentina and you make it sound very interesting.

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So, I decided to start with Fiorentina as mentioned above with the release version, and already feel at home. The team has great, flexible players with just sufficient challenge for me.

I started with no first window transfer budget as I always do and have to make do with the squad I have.

The two formations I settled on are:

1) 5-3-2 (Balanced, Control, Possession based)

----ST--ST----

------AMC-----

----MC--MC---

WB---------WB

---CD-CD-CD--

------GK------

2) 4-4-1-1 (Standard, Balanced, a bit less adventurous than the first)

-----ST-----

----AMC----

ML-MC-MC-MR

FB-CD-CD-FB

-----GK-----

Due to pre-season injuries to Gomez mostly (8 days, then right away again 3 weeks) I used the 4-4-1-1 more with Rossi leading the line. Pre-season went great with 10 games played but it took this bunch quite a bit to get their fitness levels up. The first four games I really struggled to have players starting with more than 70% condition. It finally picked up when I went with an intensive Fitness training to go along with my tour of Austria pre-season.

For the EURO-League playoffs I drew Nice.

vs. Nice (away) - 1:0 (Rossi)

Nice had low morale due to being beaten in Ligue 1 by Lyon and Rennes already but I failed to capitalize on the multiple chances. Only Rossi was able to score an amazing goal, the rest all failed. Joaquin on the right flank and Illicic right behind the striker were outstanding but Nice held it all. Based on how we played I would have liked more than a 1:0 but I take the away win. Just have to play the same or better (by converting chances) at home and we are in the Group Stages.

Unfortunately, right after Nice we play Juventus (away) as first Serie A match. My tactics familiarity is almost perfect but not quite and I am without Gomez. And I started my best players against Nice because I wanted to make sure we win. So I am not sure how well we will do against Juventus. Right after we have our home tie against Nice again.

How are you guys doing on your saves?

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If I get time later today I'll put up some screenshots of how my season ended. Finished Second in Serie A, I think it was 7 or maybe even 10 points behind Juventus. Managed second place less because we played well and more because the teams around us just couldn't play better. Managed to make the final of the Europa League after a 6-4 win over Dynamo Kiev in the semi, but then lost it on penalties, we took the lead 5 minutes into ET just couldn't hang on :(

Positive note though, we made the cup final and beat Napoli 1-0 so some silverware at least, and Mario Gomez wound up top goalscorer in the league with 19 goals in 30 appearances (finished the season 38 goals in 44 total).

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Nicely done. 2nd place is a very good start. The AI in my Napoli game had also been in the top three early on, so the squad is definitely good. Gomez is really great and it is noticeable when he is not in the team (even in my early stages I notice).

On to my save. The Serie A kicks off and I still have my home tie with Nice to get into the EURO league group stages. Gomez is out injured but about to return. I released Lupatelli and offered David Pizarro a new contract saving a bit of money for Fiorentina but him extending his contract by one year.

Serie A

Match 1: vs. Juventus (Away)

I really would have liked to start against another team and played Juventus when we had gelled and become comfortable in the formation. But, we deal with what we get. I set out in my 4-4-1-1 formation due to Gomez still being out and Rossi leading the line with Ilicic right behind him. Joaquin got the nod over Cuadrado who had picked up a minor injury and wasn't fully match fit.

-----------Rossi------------

-----------Ilicic-------------

Vargas-Pizarro-Valero-Joaquin

Pasqual-Savic-Rodrig.-Tomovic

-----------Neto------------

Juventus dominated the game and we got barely a shot in the first half (3 only, 38% possession). They scored early on but then it became a back and forth with them shooting and us clearing. Second half we picked up a bit (47% possession, 6 shots). Tomovic was replaced by Cuadrado and I played down the right and we became more dangerous with our best chances from Joaquin and Cuadrado. In the end we stayed at 1:0, which was not a bad result.

EURO League Playoff

2nd Leg: vs. Nice (Home)

Gomez was back and I put him in right away to gain some needed match fitness. I rested Rossi and gave most of my backup team some playing time. Gomez put us ahead and Compper made it two. Ambrosini gifted them their goal when defending from a corner and beating Neto for a 2:1. That was the end score with an aggregate of 3:1 we made it to the group stages.

Serie A - Match 2: vs. Catania (Home)

Just 3 days after the clash with Nice we had to play Catania. They had won their first game against Genoa with 3:0 and I was wary of Maxi Lopez who had tormented defenses in my 2013 save and become top goal scorer.

I played my 4-4-1-1 again playing all available first team players except for Vargas who was rested:

-----------Gomez-----------

------------Rossi-------------

Ilicic--Pizarro--Valero--Cuadrado

Pasqual-Savic-Rodrig.-Tomovic

We started of brilliantly. 60% possession, nice chances, quick, fluid play, it was all happening. Gomez was still a bit low on condition (he started at 90%) but all else was well...until...at some point out of nowhere in the 15th minute a cross came flying from their right flank into the middle and it found the net for a 1:0 for Catania. I was quite shocked as it came completely unexpected. However, it was a fluke, and we played well, just a matter of time before we would set it straight. And so it was. About 10 minutes later Ilicic was brought down in the box and we got a penalty. Rossi stepped up, quite confidently, and...missed...our chance to equalize.

Still I was not worried. Annoyed, frustrated yes, but not worried. We played better...until...Rodriguez fouls...it was our second or third foul maybe compared to their 8...and was shown the red card. He had already been slack on defending earlier when the goal happened. It was his side and he was by the goal scorer. It should have been a sign for me to replace him - he had a bad day that day. I had to put in a defender and replaced Valero, who wasn't playing that great (6.7 rating by then) and had a yellow card. I put in Roncaglia and changed to a 4-4-1 (diamond) formation by pulling Pizarro back into the DM position.

From the moment of the red card we started being in defense. They came and came and came, and scored and scored and scored. 2:0 before the break. Hair dryer treatment with them being motivated. I switched mentality to attack and told them to "pump it into the box." 3:0. Then Gomez...Gomez...saved. I replaced Cuadrado with Joaquin and put in Ambrosini for Pizarro by the 68th minute. I usually keep 1 in reserve in case of injuries but at 3:0 I needed to go all out. Joaquin made it happen. Nice cross and Tomovic was there from nowhere and we had scored. 3:1. At last. Too late? Gomez with a 5.5 rating. Rossi with a 4.7. Joaquin with 7.2. But we were coming back. One man down and we were on the attack. Until...

If something goes wrong in a game, it all goes wrong I feel. 75th minute. Pasqual is on the ground and our physio comes on. He's done for the day. And I cannot replace him because I already did my 3 substitutes. So we go 3-4-1...And...4:1.

That was the final score. Terrible luck, bad game for Rodriguez, who might lose his starting spot to Roncaglia after this display.

Lucky for us we have the international break before playing Atalanta away in 2 weeks time. I hope we can regroup. If my guys are all fit I might start with the 5-3-2.

Seule, how are you able to cope with the backups in the 5-3-2? WBR has no depth and using both Gomez and Rossi as strikers leaves you only the young guys as backup?

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Seule, how are you able to cope with the backups in the 5-3-2? WBR has no depth and using both Gomez and Rossi as strikers leaves you only the young guys as backup?

My worst patch of the season unsurprisingly came when these two guys got hurt. Patched some of it by using Rebic as a poacher, Joaquin as a False Nine next to him, Ilicic and Wolski all rotating through. I shouldn't have sent Vecino on loan last year, he could have had some valuable playing experience in there, but, what's done is done. There were a couple of games where I snuck through using single striker formations, but I wasn't particularly fond of the way those matches played out.

Right side defence!! Tomovic, he makes a bad attacking wing back, but as a support he did the job defensively, and at times I did actually put Joaquin in there as well. I'm pretty comfortable jamming guys into places they may not exactly fit to get the job done. In January I picked up Santiago Vergini from Estudiantes in Argentina, he's also capable of filling DC, DR, WBR and even sweeper if needed, got him cheap because his contract was running out. :)

I will say this much, I spent a LOT of time micro-managing games.

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I realized you definitely need to pay attention this year. I was really frustrated by losing my first two Serie A games but, the first was tough, and the second really bad luck. I like the shape of the 5-3-2 and will probably start using it now since my key players are all available. A back three is really solid and I feel two strikers allow for more possibilities up front. I like the 4-4-1-1 formation a lot but the lone striker needs to be on top of his game. I might make some adjustments to the formation now as I have been playing too attacking I think (with the roles - WB and Wingers).

Nice signing with Vergini. If my scouts pick him up, I will take a look at him (I decided this year to play without the search function. For staff I place adverts, for players I rely on my scouts).

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I'm still playing my arsenal save before i move on to my La Viola one, but I wanted to say what a fantastic thread introduction you have done. Really excellent in depth and detail. I follow Fiorentina after spending some time in Florence (and being rained on in their ground!), and wrote http://edgeofthearea.wordpress.com/2013/06/09/montellas-miracle-fiorentina-get-into-europe-by-breaking-all-the-rules/ on my blog, and pretty much agree with everything written. An excellent analysis.

I look forward to participating in this thread in the future.

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I'm still playing my arsenal save before i move on to my La Viola one, but I wanted to say what a fantastic thread introduction you have done. Really excellent in depth and detail. I follow Fiorentina after spending some time in Florence (and being rained on in their ground!), and wrote http://edgeofthearea.wordpress.com/2013/06/09/montellas-miracle-fiorentina-get-into-europe-by-breaking-all-the-rules/ on my blog, and pretty much agree with everything written. An excellent analysis.

I look forward to participating in this thread in the future.

Thanks! And I did actually read that blog post whilst I was preparing to write this thread, it was thoroughly enjoyable :) I think the thing that's really drawn me to Fiorentina is the "breaking the rules" mentality. I live in Australia, so when I was a boy my exposure to European soccer was limited to a 1 hour a week summary of the EPL, which led me to follow Leeds, and I still do to this day. In the late 00's I started watching German football, which led to my love of Werder Bremen. My love of Fiorentina really came about from Batistuta, the guy was everything that is beautiful about football.

The similarities between those clubs is actually more than a lot of people realise. Leeds went through some well publicised troubles, and still haven't recovered, stuck on the hamster wheel of Championship football, unable, or unwilling to break out of their cycle. Werder Bremen are similar, I still will do a save and thread with them at some point, but the last few years, they hit a wall with their system and now they're trying to break it and adapt the system, and only time will tell if it succeeds. Fiorentina could have been the same. They could have steadily declined from the last Champion's league appearance down to mid table mediocrity, or worse, but the bold moves made in the past few years have changed that. I know by the nature of Italian football there is no guarantee of it lasting, but the change in direction of the club as a whole is astounding, and the fact that they've basically done it without *insert mysterious billionaire here* kind of money makes it even more surprising.

I like the way they're going about their business, and especially their football, hopefully they can push up into Champion's League contention this year RL and push on from there.

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So yeah, this is my end of season update for season 1.

I'll start with the January transfer window. We lost Savic, plain and simple, Dortmund came for him, I rejected them, and apparently sitting second in Serie A wasn't good enough for him and he wanted to leave. That's fine, i milked 5 million from them for him in the end. Matias Fernandez also left, we received an offer of 3 million from Fluminese, and I made the call that I could replace him for less than that so it was good business to let him go.

I managed to grab two guys for 1.5 million a piece, Defour was transfer listed, Vergini's contract was up in June and he turned down their offers.

Defour is Defour, if you've ever had him before in FM, he's a leader, and has some ridiculous work rate attributes. I grabbed him because of the work rate, teamwork and determination, and at 1.5 mill, he's worth it even just as a tutor for Capezzi and Gil Romero when he gets here.

Vergini was bought to replace Savic, and when Cuadrado got hurt he spent a lot of time at wing back and did a decent job too. The good part about Vergini, he's got a second nationality of Italian, so he didn't take up one of my precious non-EU slots. Still didn't bolster my attack, there simply weren't any good options out there at a reasonable price.... dang it I sound like Arsene Wenger.

prjl.jpg

We fell away in the second half somewhat, some bad results such as losing away to Chievo really hurt, and yet still managed to finish second. Where we fell away a bit, Napoli almost dropped off a cliff, they lost 8 of their last 21 games to finish 4th behind Sampdoria. So all things considered, a good result first season.

hoz5.jpg

We made it to two cup finals, the TIM cup was really fortunate, I drew Lazio in the quarter finals and won 2-0 and then we drew Varese in the semi's, yes, Serie B club Varese made the semi's, I love Italy. Beat them 2-1 in the first leg, settling for a 2-2 draw in the second put us through to the final where we met Napoli. Suffice to say we didn't exactly dominate the game, but defensively, we were really solid and sometimes, 1 goal is all you need.

The Europa Cup was a different story. The draw forced us to go to Moscow for the QF and Kiev for the Semi, finally we met Shahktar in the final in Turin, and man did it sting, as you can see from the match statistics, it was one of "those" games. We should have won, multiple times, but c'est la vie we didn't, I like to think it was because they made us play in Juventus stadium and the place is cursed, but we made it, that's got to count for something.

fazt.jpg

Player wise, some interestingly bad things happened. Rossi was Rossi and that injury bug hit again, playing only 14 games the rest of the season, and his form dropped off for that reason. Still, this is how things looked at the end of the year :

hby9.jpg

Players of note :

Gomez - Top goalscorer in Serie A, nuff said, he's probably the difference between second and 6th or 7th.

Rossi - When he's fit, he's awesome, pity he got hurt a lot.

Joaquin - Took Rossi's spot most of the time when he was hurt and as you can see, he did ok. Doesn't score much, but 17 assists from 36 appearances is a pretty good return.

Ilicic - Provided a good secondary goal threat tucked in behind the front two.

The midfield - The stats aren't overly impressive, but, they did their job, kept possession well and built a platform for Gomez/Ilicic/Joaquin/Rossi to do what needed to be done.

Pasqual - He went beast mode late in the season, had a number of games where defensively he just dominated was Man of the Match in the cup final against Napoli with 18 tackles from 19 attempts.

Tomovic/Roncaglia/Rodriguez - they all had their ups and downs, but overall provided a steady, solid base for the team.

Going into the Offseason

The formation has been solid, but some changes are occurring. Fernando is being retrained as a sweeper, and the flat back 3 is getting a Libero, between he and Rodriguez they can handle it. I like the front trio, and at the same time, I feel like having the target man and the shadow striker with a false nine was just... cluttered a bit? So I've built variations without the AM slot, I have one with a Regista that I'm toying with atm, Ilicic is versatile enough that he can drop back to a central midfield position and play as an advanced playmaker.

Defensively though, it's mostly staying the same. Pasqual really had some beast games once I set him to close down more and tackle harder.

As far as transfer priorities for the offseason :

1. Getting a backup for Gomez, another really good striker, preferrably young, just in case. Rebic has come along well, but he'll always be the "small striker" I need someone with a bit more oomph.

2. Getting a backup for Pasqual. Marcos Alonso was far too timid and error prone, I'll try and move him if I can.

3. Getting a backup for Cuadrado. This one is actually already taken care of, my scouts found a kid in Denmark (regen) who looks amazing for a 19 year old, so he has already been bought for 3 million.

4. Italians. I know the squad is good, but it sucks having to fill 4 of your European squad slots with 18 year olds because you have no home grown players... for this reason, some of the guys on loan now, like Capezzi and Camporese will be kept around to fill that squad with players I can actually use.

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Very nice season for you. Sampdoria did pretty well. It's a shame you lost Savic but I had a feeling people will come for him. He's really good. The EU rule is really annoying. Already had problems registering now and had to leave one spot open by dropping Rebic. Are any of the players on loan Italian (HG)?

I was able to play only one game against Atalanta.

vs. Atalanta (away)

They lined up in a 4-4-2 and I was considering my tactic for a long long time. I wanted to play the 5-3-2 but two things bothered me. 1) My match vs. Brugge was in only 3 days and I wanted either Gomez and Rossi fit (since you had a good experience with Joaquin he might have been an option). 2) Leaving out Joaquin who has been tearing things up on the wing.

So I went with the 4-4-1-1 in the end, resting Rossi and playing all the usual suspects. We came out blazing and within minutes Gomez put us ahead for 1:0. Then it was a kong back and forth with Atalanta never looking dangerous. Nonetheless they scored in the 44th minute after a free kick hit the right post and one of theirs got to the rebound. Tomovic got several knocks and I put in Cuadrado at half time.

Savic made it 2 for us after a corner and then around the 70th we got a penalty. Gomez steps up...and saved but the goalie knocks it away only and Gomez gets the rebound. 3:1. But. What are my guys doing with their penalties? Supposed to be a clear chance. We won in the end and got our first 3 points. Brugge next in the Euro league.

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I actually had another penalty yesterday and Gomez scored (Rossi went out injured - only for 3 days though). I played 2 games but I am waiting for an update to do a monthly one instead of game by game. But, things have been going well so far.

EURO League Group:

Fiorentina

FC Utrecht

Club Brugge

Anorthosis

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Thanks! And I did actually read that blog post whilst I was preparing to write this thread, it was thoroughly enjoyable :) I think the thing that's really drawn me to Fiorentina is the "breaking the rules" mentality. I live in Australia, so when I was a boy my exposure to European soccer was limited to a 1 hour a week summary of the EPL, which led me to follow Leeds, and I still do to this day. In the late 00's I started watching German football, which led to my love of Werder Bremen. My love of Fiorentina really came about from Batistuta, the guy was everything that is beautiful about football.

The similarities between those clubs is actually more than a lot of people realise. Leeds went through some well publicised troubles, and still haven't recovered, stuck on the hamster wheel of Championship football, unable, or unwilling to break out of their cycle. Werder Bremen are similar, I still will do a save and thread with them at some point, but the last few years, they hit a wall with their system and now they're trying to break it and adapt the system, and only time will tell if it succeeds. Fiorentina could have been the same. They could have steadily declined from the last Champion's league appearance down to mid table mediocrity, or worse, but the bold moves made in the past few years have changed that. I know by the nature of Italian football there is no guarantee of it lasting, but the change in direction of the club as a whole is astounding, and the fact that they've basically done it without *insert mysterious billionaire here* kind of money makes it even more surprising.

I like the way they're going about their business, and especially their football, hopefully they can push up into Champion's League contention this year RL and push on from there.

Yeah. After a decade of chaos, the new ownership really seem to have a much better handle on things, and have proved excellent at making decisive moves, such as cashing on on contract rebel Ljaic and replacing Jovetic before he left. It will be interesting to see the impact of Mario Gomez when he gets fit again.

I have no idea how you stumbled across my blog (I do most of my writing for an Arsenal blog), but I'm glad it was of interest! I have to admit my first move on my Arsenal save was to snap up Cuadrado. On last years I managed to win Serie A (just) with only bargain basement signings, as Fiorentina have a great basis with just a little investment.

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September Update

Vs. Club Brugge (home) 3-0 (Gomez, Joaquin, Ilicic)

Our first game in the Euro Group stage and it went perfectly. I tweaked the 5-3-2 formation a bit and it is now more of a 3-5-2.

---------------Gomez---Rossi-----------

Pasqual---Aquilani------Valero---Joaquin

------------------Ambrosini-------------

------Compper--Gonzalo--Tomovic-----

------------------Neto-------------------

It started really slow and Rossi had a bad game. I replaced him with Ilicic who rocked the F9 role as a striker. As soon as he came on Gomez scored followed by Joaquin minutes later. Then Ilicic got his own shortly before the end.

Vs. Cagliari (home) 3-1 (Gomez, Ilicic, Gomez)

------------------Gomez---------------

------------------Ilicic------------------

Vargas---Pizarro------Valero---Cuadrado

Pasqual--Compper--Savic-----Tomovic

------------------Neto-------------------

We started badly with Astori quickly scoring from a corner and Cagliari going ahead 0:1. Minutes later we got our penalty. Gomez finally converted one for us. Then it was back and forth without much action until Ilicic showed up again in the 42nd and put us ahead. Finally in the 64th Gomez scored again for the final score. Great game.

Vs Parma (away) 3-0 (Cuadrado, Gomez, Ilicic)

---------------Gomez---Ilicic-----------

Alonso---Aquilani------Valero---Cuadrado

------------------Ambrosini-------------

------Savic--Compper--Tomovic-----

------------------Neto-------------------

They played a flat 3-5-2 so I decided to play my 3-5-2 as well and it worked like a charm. Cuadrado scored in the 4th from a solo effort. Gomez in the 10th from an amazing low cross and then Ilicic in the 65th. No complaints. Up to 7th now with 9 points from 5 games.

Vs. Livorno (home) 0-1 (o.g. Savic)

---------------Gomez---Rossi-----------

Pasqual---Aquilani------Valero---Joaquin

------------------Ambrosini-------------

------Savic--Gonzalo--Tomovic-----

------------------Neto-------------------

We dominated the game. Rossi had a terrible game. The defenders looked "complacent." Joaquin was missing his great runs and all in all we were slow. I replaced Rossi with Ilicic at half time and things became more lively. Then Cuadrado on for Joaquin and we pressed but no result. In the 90th they had a corner and Savic scored an own goal.

A win would have put us in 3rd place but nothing is lost yet.

Next up in October:

EL: Anorthosi (away)

Sr.A: Sampdoria (away)

Sr.A: Lazio (home)

EL: FC Utrecht

Sr.A: Chievo (away)

Sr.A: Milan (home)

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ML is a WMs and the MR Wa. A lot of the attacks come obviously from the right exploiting Cuadrado's and Joaquin's dribbling skills and speed. I tried to use a DW but he was closing down too much and went out of position.

So this is the actual set up:

STL: TMa

STR: F9

ML: WMs

MCL: CMa/APa

MCR: DLPs

MR: Wa

DM: RGS

CDL: CDx

CD: CDc

CDR: CDx

GK: GKd (distribute to defenders)

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ML is a WMs and the MR Wa. A lot of the attacks come obviously from the right exploiting Cuadrado's and Joaquin's dribbling skills and speed. I tried to use a DW but he was closing down too much and went out of position.

So this is the actual set up:

STL: TMa

STR: F9

ML: WMs

MCL: CMa/APa

MCR: DLPs

MR: Wa

DM: RGS

CDL: CDx

CD: CDc

CDR: CDx

GK: GKd (distribute to defenders)

Finally getting to this after exams. I'm actually back to using a really similar setup as this now, except with the wide mids pulled back as wingbacks. Seems to be good at keeping possession whilst the false nine/ attacking CM keep everything connected and flowing. Figured it was time to come and see how things were doing, I'm having one of those days where I love injury prone players : Just got Rossi back from strained ankle ligaments, and he breaks his arm.....

Edit : And 2 games later, a certain striker who I paid handsomely for in the offseason, tore his hamstring, gone for 2 months...

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Seule, this is why I try to stay clear of any player that has an "injury prone" as a weakness, no matter if it is a 5 star potential player. I just cannot rely on them. They are constantly injured or at the worst times. I like professional, hard working players. Those that complain are off to another team.

Rossi, Rossi, Rossi... he lacked confidence in my game. Finally, after 10 hours without scoring he scored and now he can't stop.

I already have my October Update ready and am half way through November. Tweaked my tactics a bit more.

A small preview: Serie A going really well - 3rd right now with 23 points. Sampdoria 2nd with 24 points and a game in hand. Juventus at 34 points running away. Napoli breathing down our necks with 23 points but worse goal difference. Places 2-10 are really close together after the first 12 games - all around 20s but I am happy with our recent form. The last 3 games we went down 1-0 each time and we came back, to win 2-1, draw 1-1, and win 3-1.

Euro League: Currently first in group with 7 points after 4 games. Not going as well as I had hoped. The group is really easy but my guys don't seem to care about these games. The only good thing is that the other teams seem to take points off each other which is why we are 1st. I am hoping for two wins in the last two games to cement 1st.

As for the players. I am looking to bring in a young ML. Currently Pasqual plays there and well but Vargas (a) got injured and (b) isn't really performing and © his wages are high for a backup. My assistant rates that part of the team as the most lacking with 2 stars only.

I am really happy with Gomez and Rossi is finally showing his class. Ilicic is outstanding. The entire midfield is great. Joaquin and Cuadrado are my creators and motors. Savic, he is a beast. Just alone the amounts of interceptions he had - over 60, the next closest has around 30. Roncaglia and Gonzalo have disappointed.

Neto is really doing well in the goal. I am just not happy with his determination as he is complaining about the "average" training he is getting. It is too much for him. I keep him on it, of course, and he could develop into 3 stars and get all the necessary stats. But I might consider a GK purchase as well. Some of the early goals we let in might be down to him because they are not dangerous shots. A solid current 3 star goalkeeper might be make the difference for us.

The board gave me €19mn to work with in the winter break, so I am heavily scouting MLs and GKs.

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I had a great save with Fiorentina on FM09, so decided to start with them.

Brought in Honda, Matuidi and Reveillere, and in January Astori joined me after selling Savic who became unhappy.

In the first season I won the league with a one point difference over Juventus, and 26 points to number 3 Lazio, AC Milan got relegated(!) as they finished 19th.

Topscorers were Rossi (23) and Gomez (19), also Rebic, Cuadrado and Joaquin scored 10 each. Joaquin also gave 23 assists.

Approaching the second season Akinfeev, Fernando (Porto), Candreva and Vergini are coming in on a free, and I still have 20M euro to spend.

Looking for a new RB, LB and maybe other areas to strengthen when bids for my players come in.

Manchester United is interested in Cuadrado so might sell him for a nice amount of money.

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Weird question for the people keepin up with this thread, how did De Silvestri do at Sampdoria on loan? In my game he played the first season with a 7.7 rating or something, was one of the top players in Serie A, I think he made team of the year etc.... and now is sitting on a free with no interest in him.

Sold them Marcos Alonso in the offseason and now he's playing ridiculous for them too.

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De Silvestri has only a 6.56 in my game. Injured also.

Seems for strikers a target man is really good this time around. And the other to drop deep. I've been playing Gomez as an Advanced Forward lately next to Rossi as a F9 and it also works. Both scoring regularly.

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See I think Fiorentina is a unique situation compared to Inter. This season so far I've been playing without the AMC for the most part. My current first team looks like this :

----------Gomez(TM(A))----Rossi(Treq)

-----------------------

---------Valero(AP(A))-----Gil Romero(BBM)

Pasqual(WB(S))-----Defour(RGA)-------Mallo(WB(S))

------------Vergini(CD)------Tomovic(CD)

-------------------Fernando(Lib(A))

I agree with Tyro, I think this time around a Target Man is really good, even an AF, it seems to work best with one man staying up top and the other dropping off. With Inter I'd almost try the combo of Palacio as a Trequartista and Milito as the AF or even a TM (I know his strength isn't fantastic, but it might work). If I were trying to enforce this formation on Inter (I can't really recommend it, as I tend to lie in the "make your system fit your players" camp), I'd probably try Guarin or Cambiasso as the Regista with the other as the BBM and Kovacic as the AP.

I may have to try inter at some point, i saw bababooey had some problems over on the tactic forums as well :

http://community.sigames.com/showthread.php/373869-Why-I-Just-Quit-My-Job-At-Inter

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See I think Fiorentina is a unique situation compared to Inter. This season so far I've been playing without the AMC for the most part. My current first team looks like this :

----------Gomez(TM(A))----Rossi(Treq)

-----------------------

---------Valero(AP(A))-----Gil Romero(BBM)

Pasqual(WB(S))-----Defour(RGA)-------Mallo(WB(S))

------------Vergini(CD)------Tomovic(CD)

-------------------Fernando(Lib(A))

I agree with Tyro, I think this time around a Target Man is really good, even an AF, it seems to work best with one man staying up top and the other dropping off. With Inter I'd almost try the combo of Palacio as a Trequartista and Milito as the AF or even a TM (I know his strength isn't fantastic, but it might work). If I were trying to enforce this formation on Inter (I can't really recommend it, as I tend to lie in the "make your system fit your players" camp), I'd probably try Guarin or Cambiasso as the Regista with the other as the BBM and Kovacic as the AP.

I may have to try inter at some point, i saw bababooey had some problems over on the tactic forums as well :

http://community.sigames.com/showthread.php/373869-Why-I-Just-Quit-My-Job-At-Inter

Ah, fair enough. I just saw you had the AMC at the top of the page....

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yeah the AMC did really well in the previous season, the TM(A)/False9/ShadowStriker combo did really well for me first season, but the players fit better without it now, plus, the second striker playing as a Trequartista seems to have a good deal more space in which to work.

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Finished November and into December now. Cannot complain about Serie A except that both Rossi and Gomez aren't really practicing their penalty kicks - Gomez missed another one, this time he didn't even find the goal. I am happy that during play he knows where it is. Rossi decided to catch up to Gomez in the scoring department after not scoring for 10 hours. He is now already up to 5. Still some way to catch Gomez (I think he has 11 or 13).

I am not happy at all with our performance in the EL. We just lost to Club Brugge again 3-1 and just got lucky that Utrecht beat Anorthosi. We all hover around 6 to 7 points in the group now. It really depends on the last games now. I will be really frustrated if we do not manage the group stages. This group is just not hard. And I think that is the problem. My guys think they can walk through it and they can't. They do need to concentrate and play well.

As for my winter transfers I have a shortlist of about 5 players now: for ML a younger ML whose name escpaes me and Tadic who would really improve the side but would cost me around EUR 15mn. I have a budget of EUR 19mn and I really want to bring in a GK. Asmir Begovic is top of the list if I want a real replacement but I have some others with better stats and determination than Neto - David Ospina, Benoit Costil. My scouts keep reporting on them non-stop and I will make a decision soon on that. Still have about a month before the transfer window opens up.

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Finished November and into December now. Cannot complain about Serie A except that both Rossi and Gomez aren't really practicing their penalty kicks - Gomez missed another one, this time he didn't even find the goal. I am happy that during play he knows where it is. Rossi decided to catch up to Gomez in the scoring department after not scoring for 10 hours. He is now already up to 5. Still some way to catch Gomez (I think he has 11 or 13).

I am not happy at all with our performance in the EL. We just lost to Club Brugge again 3-1 and just got lucky that Utrecht beat Anorthosi. We all hover around 6 to 7 points in the group now. It really depends on the last games now. I will be really frustrated if we do not manage the group stages. This group is just not hard. And I think that is the problem. My guys think they can walk through it and they can't. They do need to concentrate and play well.

As for my winter transfers I have a shortlist of about 5 players now: for ML a younger ML whose name escpaes me and Tadic who would really improve the side but would cost me around EUR 15mn. I have a budget of EUR 19mn and I really want to bring in a GK. Asmir Begovic is top of the list if I want a real replacement but I have some others with better stats and determination than Neto - David Ospina, Benoit Costil. My scouts keep reporting on them non-stop and I will make a decision soon on that. Still have about a month before the transfer window opens up.

Costil you can get on a free transfer and Mattia Perin should only set you back £2.1M max. Strikers you should look at is Alberto Cerri from Parma and Gabriel Barbosa from Corinthians. Keisuke Honda a free transfer in January, should only be asking for around £31K max a week. Kevin Constant is not a bad left midfielder, and he's an even better left wingabck.

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Costil might be my cheap replacement option. For a free it might be good to bring him in even if it's for competition only but it seems he is an improvement. Even if he has the same stats (which he doesn't, he has slightly higher stats) his determination is much higher which is a big improvement - Neto just keeps complaining about the training workload he has.

Cerri is already on my shortlist but maybe a summer target. Honda is an AMC and I am really not looking to improve that part of the squad, otherwise a good option.

I have also scouted Kevin Constant but I am looking for an ML/AML player as a long term replacement for Pasqual.

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