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FM15: Arsenal FC

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Welcome to the Football Manager 2015 Arsenal Team Guide

ArsenalCrest_zps8b8eaec6.png

Arsenal were formed in 1886 by Woolwich Arsenal Armament Factory workers under the name Dial Square; a reference to the sundial that sat atop the entrance of their factory. Later, they would change the name to Royal Arsenal and, after becoming professional, Woolwich Arsenal. In 1913, upon moving to the Arsenal Stadium in Highbury, they dropped “Woolwich” from their name, becoming just Arsenal.

Iconic and Legendary Players

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Full Honours List

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League Titles: 1930-31, 1932-33, 1933-34, 1934-35, 1937-38, 1947-48, 1952-53, 1970-71, 1988-89, 1990-91, 1997-98, 2001-02, 2003-04

FA Cups: 1929-30, 1935-36, 1949-50, 1970-71, 1978-79, 1992-93, 1997-98, 2001-02, 2002-03, 2004-05, 2013-14

League Cups: 1986-87, 1992-93

Community Shield: 1930, 1931, 1933, 1934, 1938, 1948, 1953, 1991 (shared), 1998, 1999, 2002, 2004, 2014

Euro Cup Winners Cup: 1993-94

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History: The Quick Version

Arsenal's rise as a club would not have been possible without the influence and expertise of certain individuals throughout their 127 history. Here are just some of those individuals...

Sir Henry Norris

A former Fulham chairman and businessman, Sir Henry Norris became Arsenal chairman in 1910 and came with a number of controversies. He had the desire to create a London super club by combining Woolwich Arsenal with Fulham, but this was blocked by the FA. Instead, he decided to move Arsenal from South London, where their isolated location yielded small attendances, to North London, much to the chagrin of certain other London clubs.

Post-war, Arsenal were still in the Second Division after their one and only relegation in history. Norris, using his influence and connections, managed to get Arsenal elected back into the First Division despite only finishing fifth the previous season. They never left.

Questionable methods aside, Norris was key towards laying down the foundations that others would build off.

HenryNorris_zps424e4053.jpg

Herbert Chapman

Chapman was appointed Arsenal manager in 1925. After leading Huddersfield to two league titles, Chapman would oversee Arsenal's first major period of success. He was a pioneering manager, introducing new tactics and training methods, including the “WM” formation which would become the standard formation in world football during that era. He advocated white footballs, numbered shirts and floodlights, and was behind the renaming of London's Underground Gillespie Road station to Arsenal Station.

Under his leadership, the club won its first major trophies: the 1930-31 and 1932-32 league titles and the 1930 FA Cup. Chapman suddenly died of pneumonia in 1934.

A statue was erected in his honour outside of the Emirates Stadium in 2012.

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Arsene Wenger

Brought to Arsenal by then vice-chairman David Dein, Wenger's arrival in England in 1996 was greeted with universal confusion: who is this French guy? However, it wouldn't be long before Wenger established himself as one of the top managers in the country and take the first steps on the path to becoming Arsenal's longest serving and greatest manager.

Wenger revolutionised Arsenal. He introduced new diet and training methods, which went a long way towards extending the careers of several players, and a brand new style of play; a blend of pace, power and technical excellence that made them one of the most feared, yet attractive, sides in England.

The trophies soon followed: a league and cup double in 1998, and then again in 2002, won with a team containing the likes Tony Adams, Patrick Vieira, Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry; the 2003 FA Cup; the 2003-04 Premier League title, won without losing a single game; the 2005 FA Cup; and taking the club to its first Champions League final in 2006 rounded off a great period of success.

The trophies dried up as Arsenal moved to the new Emirates Stadium and no longer had the financial muscle to compete, but Wenger remained as manager, working with young players to create a team that played an attractive passing game.

Nowadays, Wenger is something of a divisive figure, the man credited for getting Arsenal where they are today in both the positive and negative sense. Still, he remains at the club, entering his 18th season in charge, making him, by some distance, Arsenal's longest serving manager and, after the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson, the longest serving manager currently in the Premier League.

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Further Reading

If you wish to learn more about Arsenal's extensive history, their official website has an excellent section that groups it into different eras:

Laying the Foundations

Herbert Chapman

Post-War Arsenal

The Seventies

Graham's Glory Years

The Wenger Years

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Notable Successes

1989 Division One Tittle

On May 26th 1989, Arsenal needed to defeat top-of-the-table Liverpool by two clear goals if they were to win the Division One title. Very few people thought Arsenal could do it.

Seven minutes into the second half, Alan Smith put Arsenal ahead with a glancing header so fine the Liverpool players thought he hadn't touched it. Liverpool kept the score to just 1-0 for the remainder of the half, and going into stoppage time, they looked certain to win the game and the title.

Then, Arsenal got the ball forward. It was flicked on towards goal and Michael Thomas, bursting from the midfield, got on the end of it and poked it in to give Arsenal the league title in the most dramatic fashion.

1994 Cup Winners Cup

Dubbed as the one ultimate “1-0 to the Arsenal” wins. George Graham's side was struck by injury going into the game against a formidable Parma side spearheaded by Zola and Asprilla. After 20 minutes,

, and from there they had to defend with their backs to the wall. Parma threw everything at them, but Arsenal stood strong and secured what remains to this day their last European trophy.

1998 and 2002 Premier League and FA Cup doubles

Wenger's first title in England came in 1998. Despite an inconsistent start, a team containing the likes of Emmanuel Petit, Marc Overmars and Nicolas Anelka managed to end the season strongly with an unbeaten streak of 18 games, with the league title being won in a memorable win against Everton in the club's final home game of the season, in which

before lifting the Premier League trophy. A fortnight later, on May 13th, Arsenal made it a double, defeating Newcastle 2-0 at Wembley.

Manchester United would go on to win the next three titles before Arsenal would lift the trophy again. In a remarkable year, Arsenal didn't lose a single game away from home and won their last 13 games, securing the title at Old Trafford thanks to Sylvain Wiltord. Along the way, Arsenal defeated Chelsea 2-0 in the FA Cup final, with two outstanding goals from Ray Parlour and Freddie Ljungberg.

2004 Invincibles

No achievement was more notable than this one. Arsenal became the first team in over 100 years to go a whole season without losing a single game, though it wasn't always plain sailing.

The unbeaten run almost never happened. Arsenal's eighth game of the season saw them play bitter rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford and, by all accounts, they should have lost. Ruud van Nistelrooy, though, struck his penalty against the bar.

The run came under threat in the latter part of the season when Arsenal were dumped out of the FA Cup and Champions League in the same week. It looked like Arsenal's season was falling apart, but a 4-2 win against Liverpool, won by a Thierry Henry hat-trick, got them back on track, and the title was later won at White Hart Lane.

On the final day of the season, Arsenal came from behind to defeat Leicester 2-1 and finish the season unbeaten.

The team would eventually go 49 games undefeated, breaking Nottingham Forest's long-standing record of 42 games, before the run came to a controversial end at Old Trafford.

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Jens Lehmann; Lauren, Kolo Toure, Sol Campbell, Ashley Cole; Freddie Ljungberg, Patrick Vieira, Gilberto Silva, Robert Pires; Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry

Recent History: 2004 – 2014

Farewell Highbury

With the club winning more trophies and becoming a more consistent presence in Europe, Arsenal had outgrown it's legendary home, Highbury. The fanbase was growing larger, the season ticket waiting list longer, and if Arsenal wanted to achieve their ambition of becoming one the biggest clubs in the world, they would need a bigger stadium.

In 2006, the new 60,000 seater Emirates Stadium was completed, so the 2005-06 season became the final season at Highbury. The final game was played in May 2006 against Wigan Athletic. A Thierry Henry hat-trick helped Arsenal come from behind to win 4-2 and leave Highbury on a high.

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The Emirates Stadium Era

Unfortunately, it would be a while before the move to the new stadium yielded any sort of success. Loans taken out to pay for the stadium's construction meant Arsenal had to be cautious with how much money they could spend in the transfer market and this effected their ability to compete for major honours.

Still, under Wenger's leadership, they came close a couple of times. In 2007 they were defeated by Chelsea in the Carling Cup final, while a promising title challenge in 2007-08 was derailed by a horrific injury to striker Eduardo and Arsenal's own collapse. Frequent injuries would curtail the next two seasons, while a promising first half to the 2010-11 season was ruined by a 2-1 defeat to Birmingham in the Carling Cup final and the subsequent implosion.

All the while, the best players at the club came and went. None of the players from the previous title winning side remained at the club beyond 2008, while the likes of Alex Hleb, Mathieu Flamini, Emmanuel Adebayor, Kolo Toure, Gael Clichy, Samir Nasri, Cesc Fabregas, Alex Song and Robin van Persie would leave the club after successful spells. It was an era that was being defined by near misses and a constant need to rebuild.

Things started to change in 2013-14. The club were becoming richer by the season, and with new commercial deals in place, Arsenal were able to break their transfer record by splashing an incredible £42.5 million on German international and Real Madrid player Mesut Ozil. It was completely new territory for the club; a mega transfer that was at least three times more than their previous record. There was hope that a new era was starting at Arsenal.

2014 FA Cup

Arsenal failed to win the Premier League title again that season, but the nine year trophy draught that had become the millstone around the club's neck was finally ended.

The run to the semi-final was not the easiest, with home games against Spurs, Liverpool and then Everton, but Arsenal came out 2-0, 2-1 and 4-1 winners after tough games. With Manchester City still in the competition, it looked like Arsenal would have to defeat another one of their rivals to win the trophy, but a miracle occurred with Wigan defeating City at the Etihad Stadium.

With the semi-finals including Wigan, Hull and Sheffield United, it was only a matter of time before Arsenal won the trophy, right?

Things weren't quite as straightforward as that.

Wigan, the cup holders, stifled Arsenal in their semi-final and took the lead via a Jordi Gomez penalty. A shock was on the cards, and Arsenal threw everything at Wigan, though not always in the most fluid of ways. Late in the game, they finally equalised, with Per Mertesacker, the player who had given away the penalty, bundling in Oxlade-Chamberlain's cross-shot. Extra-time came and went before the game went to penalties. Wigan would have their first two penalties saved by Fabianski while Arteta, Giroud, Kallstrom and Cazorla scored to send Arsenal through to the final.

Hull stood between Arsenal and their first major trophy for nine years. The final started horribly for the Gunners, as James Chester and Curtis Davies put Hull into a quick-fire two goal lead. Alex Bruce would've made it 3-0 – and surely game over – if not for Kieran Gibbs' goal-line clearance.

Arsenal got one back before half-time with a brilliant free-kick from Santi Cazorla. The equaliser came in the second half courtesy of Laurent Koscielny. With all the momentum behind Arsenal, they created a glorious chance to seal the game in normal time, but Gibbs blazed over from close range, meaning the fans would go through the agony of extra-time once more.

Extra-time was tense, with Arsenal probing but Hull standing strong. Eventually, Arsenal found a way through. Giroud got the ball in the box, back-heeled it into the path of Ramsey, and Arsenal's player of the season stabbed it home at the near post.

3-2 Arsenal. The wait was finally over.

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Facilities

Arsenal play their home games in the 60,000 (approx) capacity Emirates Stadium, opened in 2006. It is a modern and state-of-the-art stadium, complete with obscenely high prices, that has gradually become “home” through the “Arsenalisation” process that's seen the internal and external parts of the stadium improved to reflect Arsenal's traditions. On top of having the club's honours decorating the interior, the old South Bank clock has returned, while the exterior is decorated with murals of legendary players.

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Arsenal train at London Colney, dubbed in-game as excellent training facilities.

Rivalries

Arsenal vs Tottenham Hotspur (The North London Derby)

A rivalry that has its origins in the early 1900s. Arsenal's move from South to North London was seen as an invasion of territory by Spurs, and hostilities between the clubs were only exacerbated when Arsenal were voted back into the first division at Spurs' expense.

The North London derby, in recent times, tends to go Arsenal's way. The last time Spurs finished above Arsenal in the league was in 1995, and since then Arsenal have had a lot more success and considerably more years in the Champions League.

Recently, however, the gap between the teams is not as gaping as it used to be. Spurs have improved while Arsenal have declined, and the results in the derby games reflect this somewhat.. Arguably, it's a more competitive rivalry these days, with the clubs often duking it out for that fourth and final Champions League spot.

Arsenal vs Chelsea

Arsenal's other big London rival. It's a rivalry with less tradition and history than the North London derby, but the games are no less intense and during the mid to late 2000s, when Chelsea became a force in the Premier League, it really took off.

Much of it is owned to the rivalry between Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho. The Portuguese wasn't afraid to take frequent shots at Wenger, and Wenger would always respond. Unfortunately, it was often Mourinho that got the better of his French counterpart on the pitch; Wenger has never beaten him in a competitive game.

It's become something of a rarity for Arsenal to beat Chelsea, and there's added spice to this year's games as ex-Arsenal hero Cesc Fabregas is now a Chelsea player.

Arsenal vs Manchester United

When Arsenal became a title winning side in the late 90s and early 2000s, it was inevitable that they would butt heads with prolific league winners Manchester United. Back then, games between the two clubs were fierce, aggressive encounters. Wenger and Ferguson would trade barbs before the games, while on the field the two captains, Patrick Vieira and Roy Keane, were frequently on the verge of trading blows. Later games would see Arsenal win the title at Old Trafford, van Nistelrooy confronted by Martin Keown, and United end Arsenal's unbeaten streak due to a controversial Rooney penalty.

Since 2005, though, the rivalry lost some of its intensity. While United continued to be successful, Arsenal fell behind. Animosity between Wenger and Ferguson turned into respect and friendship, and the games became more of a battle of tactics than a literal battle between the players. Such was the change in the managers' relationship that Wenger allowed Robin van Persie, their top goalscorer at the time, to join Manchester United in 2013.

Still, even with Ferguson's retirement and Arsenal's decline, fans look forward to games against United as much as they do against Spurs or Chelsea.

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Expectations

Expectations are growing at Arsenal and the minimum the club expects is qualification for the Champions League and they are prepared to give you a transfer budget of £47.5 million and a wage budget of £2.2 million to accomplish this.

However, if you feel that the club should aiming higher, you can set the expectation level to a title challenge, which will give you £54 million to spend on players and £2.31 million on wages.

Saying you will win the title gets you a budget of £60 million to spend and £2.43 million for wages.

Whichever you pick is entirely down to you, but let's take a look at the state of the Arsenal first team squad and see what they can achieve before we go and spend some 'effing money.

The First Team

Note: All wage figures are before tax and are weekly.

Text in red applies to the 15.3 version of the database only.

Keepers

Wojciech Szczesny

Nationality: Polandicon_zps073faf9d.png | Position: GK | Secondary Positions: None | Age: 24 | Number: 1 | Wage: £55k

Arsenal's Pole in Goal, signed from Legia Warsaw when he was 16. At a young age, Szczesny's development was hindered by a terrible training accident that resulted in him breaking both of his arms, but after a successful loan spell at Brentford in 2010 and injuries to Almunia and Fabianski, Szczesny got his first team opportunity and has been first choice keeper ever since.

The best keeper at the club, Szczesny is a tall, commanding keeper who will look to control his penalty area, as well as being a good shot stopper. However, he is prone to making strange or incorrect decisions and has below average distribution. Still at a young age, Szczesny can and will get better, and I recommend focusing his training on improving his kicking and throwing.

David Ospina

Nationality: Colombiaicon_zps79229dc4.png | Position: GK | Secondary Positions: None | Age: 25| Number: 13 | Wage: £45k

One of Arsenal's new recruits, replacing the outgoing Fabianski, Ospina comes to the club having had a good World Cup with Colombia. He's solid keeper with remarkable reflexes and is a more than able deputy for Szczesny. At 25, he does still room to grow and will be wanting some regular first team football, so do look to give him opportunities to play. Through my own experience, 20+ games per season has been enough to keep him happy.

Ospina starts the game with a knee injury that'll rule him out for 6 weeks to 3 months.

[b]Verdict[/b]
Two young and quality keepers, you shouldn't have any issues here for a couple of seasons at least until one complains about not playing enough.

[color="#FF0000"]No major changes after the data update. Ospina is now first choice in real life, but in game I still feel Szczesny is the better of the two keepers.[/color]

Defenders

Per Mertesacker

Nationality: Germanyicon_zps4ead4eaf.png | Position: D ©| Secondary Positions: None | Age: 29| Number: 4 | Wage: £90k

Affectionately known as the Big Effing German, Mertesacker joined Arsenal in 2012. After a shaky start, he became one of the club's better defenders and a leader at the back. He is now the club's vice-captain.

Mertesacker is a supremely intelligent defender, more than compensating for his lack of pace with exceptional positioning and reading of the game. He's not the sort of defender you want isolated against quick players, but with the appropriate protection, Mertesacker will be a towering presence at the back for you. Even at he gets older and loses pace, he'll remain a great defender purely because of his outstanding mental stats; he's 36 and still going strong on my save! He's loyal, too, which is a nice bonus.

Laurent Koscielny

Nationality: Franceicon_zps45bfac07.png | Position: D © | Secondary Positions: None | Age: 28 | Number: 6 | Wage: £80k

Signed in 2011, Koscielny also had a rocky start to his Arsenal career, but has since grown into a classy defender and has formed a great partnership with Mertesacker.

Koscielny is the perfect foil for Mertesacker. Quick across the ground, aggressive and a very clean tackler of the ball, Koscielny can push up and win the ball high as well cover behind or to the side of a slower partner. He may struggle against powerful forwards, however, due to not being the tallest of strongest of defenders around. I'd advise players to focus training on his Positioning, as he will lose pace as he grows older.

Metecielny_zps8e5b2d79.jpg

Gabriel Paulista (15.3 only)

Coming soon!

Mathieu Debuchy

Nationality: Franceicon_zps45bfac07.png | Position: D ® | Secondary Positions: None | Age: 28 | Number: 2 | Wage: £60k

Debuchy is the replacement for Bacary Sagna, having signed from Newcastle in the summer. He's a hard-working player who will get up and down the flank to good effect, possessing a good balance of defensive and offensive skills. Debuchy should prove to be a dependable defender and good outlet going forward.

Hector Bellerin

Coming soon!

Carl Jenkinson

Coming soon!

Kieran Gibbs

Nationality: England-icon_zps506ba81b.png | Position: D (L) | Secondary Positions: WB, M, AM (L) | Age: 24| Number: 3 | Wage: £46k

Gibbs broke into the Arsenal first team back in 2008 as one of the deputies to Gael Clichy. After the Frenchman departed from Arsenal in 2012, Gibbs became first choice, though has been in and out of the side due to recurring injury problems.

A former winger, Gibbs has the ability to play all up the left flank and, like Debuchy, has a good balanced skill set, being a competent defender and useful player in offensive areas. He's at a good age and is one of the club's homegrown talents, so could be your first choice left back for a few seasons.

Natxo Monreal

Nationality: Spainicon_zpsb65cdfb2.png | Position: D (L) | Secondary Positions: None | Age: 28 | Number: 18 | Wage: £34k

Natxo, or Nacho, if you prefer, signed for Arsenal in January 2013. He is your more reserved alternative to Gibbs, having a stronger defensive skillset, while still remaining competent going forward.

Calum Chambers

Nationality: England-icon_zps506ba81b.png | Position: D © | Secondary Positions: D ® | Age: 19 | Number: 21 | Wage: £35k

One of several great young players to emerge from Southampton's academy. Calum Chambers was something of a surprise signing for Arsenal, but early signs suggest it'll be a good once. He's one of the most talented young players at the club and looks to be comfortable as a full-back or as a centre back, having good technical skills to go with his aerial prowess. Wenger also ear-marked him as a potential midfielder, and this could be an option for you to explore.

Get him tutored and give him games and he will be a mainstay in your team for years to come. I've found him fantastic as a rampaging right back, and just as good as a centre back.

[b]Verdict[/b]
There is quality in this area of the squad, but you're lacking in numbers. Koscielny and Mertesacker are the only natural central defenders in the first team, and even if you decide to use Chambers as a centre back I feel the squad is still short of at least one more defender. Depending on what you do with Chambers, you may also need to sign a right back to deputise for Debuchy.

[color="#FF0000"]The addition of Gabriel means you should have adequate cover in defence for the season. With Hector Bellerin, you'll have two players for every position across the backline, although if you're not confident in the Spaniard then another defender would probably be useful.[/color]

Midfielders

Mathieu Flamini

Nationality: Franceicon_zps45bfac07.png | Position: M © | Secondary Positions: DM © | Age: 30 | Number: 20 | Wage: £50k

Having left Arsenal way back in 2008, Flamini made a shock return in the summer of 2013. He hasn't changed much as a player, still being the aggressive tackle-happy card-receiver. Flamini is certainly a ball-winner, with great stamina, aggression and work rate, but unlike his fellow midfielders, he is technically lacking. An average passer and not someone who scores from distance, Flamini is someone you'd want to keep in a defensive role, either as a defensive midfield or auxiliary full-back.

He is transfer listed at the start of the game for some reason. He could be someone to offload as there are younger and better holding midfielders around, and with the Dive Into Tackles PPM he may not be the most suitable of tutors for your younger players.

As of the data update, he's no longer transfer listed at the start of the game, though his attributes are still the same.

Francis Coquelin

Coming soon!

Mikel Arteta

Nationality: Spainicon_zpsb65cdfb2.png | Position: M © | Secondary Positions: DM © | Age: 32 | Number: 8 | Wage: £65k

A deadline signing in 2012, Arteta was a player that had spent the majority of his career as an attacking midfielder looking to make the difference in the final third. At Arsenal, however, he has been played as a holding midfielder and has done a good enough job to be considered a first-team regular and be given the captaincy after Vermaelen left this summer.

Arteta is a great passer of the ball and can help you start attacks from deep. He has good PPM's such as Comes Deep to Get Ball and Dictates Tempo, which are worth passing on to your young playmakers, and is good with a dead ball. However, he is not getting any younger and you can see with his physical stats that he is slowing down. In my mind, he is a good squad player to have around, but perhaps should not be a regular starter at this stage.

Abou Diaby

Nationality: Franceicon_zps45bfac07.png | Position: M © | Secondary Positions: AM © | Age: 28 | Number: 24 | Wage: £46.5k

Poor Diaby. Once a player of great promise, he has endured a career of being almost perpetually injured, picking up every possible injury you could think of, from broken bones to ruptured ACLs. The fact that he is so prone to injury makes it very difficult to plan with him in mind.

Still, Arsenal have shown great loyalty to him, and he is a good player. Powerful, and very much capable of driving forward with the ball, Diaby could be a useful attacking alternative if you want to use him. However, there are better midfielders in the squad, and with his problems he's probably a player you're better off moving on.

He's injured at the start of the game, by the way.

Jack Wilshere

Nationality: England-icon_zps506ba81b.png | Position: M © | Secondary Positions: AM © | Age: 22| Number: 10 | Wage: £80k

Wilshere is a great hope for club and country. The best player to come out of the Hale End academy since Ashley Cole, Wilshere has proven to be a very talented but fragile player, having missed some important years of his development due to persistent ankle problems.

Yet, there's certainly no shortage of talent from him. He's good technically, and carries an impressive set of mental attributes, being a work horse and brave fighter in the heart of midfield, but also being capable of getting too carried away, especially with a tendency to Argue With Officials and Dive Into Tackles. That aside, Wilshere is a great creative player and will only get better. A future captain and definite first choice, either as a central midfielder or attacking midfielder. I've also found him very handy as a Defensive Winger on the left hand side.

Aaron Ramsey

Nationality: Walesicon_zpsfdbdfa1d.png| Position: M © | Secondary Positions: None | Age: 23 | Number: 16 | Wage: £110k

Last season, Ramsey finally fulfilled his potential. He was a very promising player in 2010 before a horrific leg break kept out the game for nearly two years. It took him a while to get back to his best, but last season, playing in the heart of Arsenal's midfield, he really excelled, scoring 16 goals and becoming a massively important player for the club.

Ramsey is the archetypal central midfielder, able to play just about any midfield role. He has a great engine and combined with his vision, his ability to help the defence and finishing prowess, it's easy to see why he's such a valuable member of your squad. Comes with the added bonus of being two-footed, too. I've been able to get goals out of him in an attacking CM role, and then successfully converted him to a DM when he got older.

Along with Wilshere, Ramsey should be a key member of your team for many years.

Mesut Ozil

Nationality: Germanyicon_zps4ead4eaf.png | Position: AM © | Secondary Positions: AM (RL) | Age: 25 | Number: 11 | Wage: £140k

Completing the trio of very talented midfield players is a certain Mesut Ozil. The club's record signing, it's fair to say Arsenal fans haven't seen the best of him yet, but that doesn't take away from his ability.

Ozil has everything you would want in an attacking midfield. Possessing amazing intelligence and technical skills, backed up by a useful burst of space, Ozil is the near-perfect link between midfield and attack and should be your main creative outlet, either in the centre as the No. 10 or on the right hand side cutting inside onto his left foot.

Just don't ask him to charge around the pitch and put a foot in.

RamseyandOzil_zps8be9ff0b.jpg

Santi Cazorla

Nationality: Spainicon_zpsb65cdfb2.png | Position: AM © | Secondary Positions: M (CRL), AM (RL) | Age: 29 | Number: 19 | Wage: £80k

Cazorla is a wonderfully two-footed creator that joined Arsenal from Malaga in 2012. Versatile, creative and capable of banging one in from distance, Cazorla is a great player to have your squad, either as a regular starter or for rotation.

Tomas Rosicky

Nationality: Czechicon_zps1466264c.png | Position: AM © | Secondary Positions: M (CRL), AM (RL) | Age: 34 | Number: 7| Wage: £52k

One of the longest serving players at the club currently, having joined in 2006. Rosicky's Arsenal career was ruined somewhat by a two year spell on the sidelines due to injury, but he's recovered extremely well to become a reliable squad player in the past couple of seasons. Though you have Ozil and Cazorla, I would definitely keep Rosicky around as a tutor and backup.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Nationality: England-icon_zps506ba81b.png | Position: M ® | Secondary Positions: M (CL), AM (CRL) | Age: 20 | Number: 15 | Wage: £55k

Another great talent from Southampton, Chamberlain signed for big money a couple of seasons ago and enters his fourth year with the club. Able to play all across the midfield, Chamberlain could become a winger or central midfielder without much issue. In some ways, he is a victim of his own versatility, as it'll prevent from developing outstanding attributes.

Nonetheless, he is a pacey, powerful dribbler with decent end product that'll only improve, so he's well worth working on. Also has a wonderful habit of banging in some great goals from distance.

[b]Verdict[/b]
You've no shortage of creativity and scoring threat from midfield, but it's an area that's badly lacking in power, especially in comparison to Chelsea and City, you're two main title rivals. A good strong holding player certainly wouldn't go amiss here.

You're other concern here is that you have four players either on or approaching the wrong side of 30. There is some good midfield talent in the academy, but it's something to keep an eye on.

[color="#FF0000"]My opinion hasn't really changed after the update. Plenty of creativity, though perhaps missing a quality holding player. Coquelin may have re-emerged as a first team player in real life, but in game he's not first team standard, unfortunately.[/color] 

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Attackers

Lukas Podolski

Nationality: Germanyicon_zps4ead4eaf.png | Position: AM (L) | Secondary Positions: ST | Age: 29 | Number: 9 | Wage: £100k

Another of the German contingent at the club. After signing in 2011, Podolski has struggled to hold down a first team spot due to not being the best fit for the Arsenal system. As his in-game stats reflect, Podolski greatly excels at one thing: kicking the ball very hard towards goal.

By far the best finisher at the club, Podolski can potentially be prolific for you. However, as one of the highest earners and approaching 30, he could also be someone you could offload for a more well-rounded player.

For your first season, I think he's worth keeping around as he will get you goals.

Has been sent on loan to Inter Milan for the season and has become surplus to requirements. He remains an awesome finisher, so could be useful when he returns. There's no options to buy in the loan.

Joel Campbell

Nationality: CostaRicaicon_zps26256090.png | Position: AM ® | Secondary Positions: AM (L), ST | Age: 22 | Number: 28 | Wage: £25.5k

An impressive loan spell with Olympiakos and some good performances for Costa Rica at the World Cup saw Campbell finally get his chance in the Arsenal first-team. However, in game he is not that impressive a player, being quick but not having any outstanding skills. With several more talented players who play in his position, you're probably better off moving him on for a tidy profit.

Now on loan at Villareal as part of the Gabriel deal. He could improve during that loan spell to a first team standard.

Theo Walcott

Nationality: England-icon_zps506ba81b.png | Position: AM ® | Secondary Positions: ST | Age: 25 | Number: 14 | Wage: £100k

Yet another Southampton youth product, Walcott is also one of the longest serving players in the team. With lightning pace and clinical finishing, Walcott has become a key player for Arsenal in recent times. Unfortunately, his last season was cut short by an ACL injury, and it'll be another three or four months before he's ready to play for you.

Once he's fit, though, you'll have a great player that'll add a lot to your frontline.

Alexis

Nationality: Chileicon_zpsaf8961de.png | Position: AM ® | Secondary Positions: AM (CL), ST | Age: 25 | Number: 17 | Wage: £140k

The £32mil signing from Barcelona, Alexis, as he prefers to be known, is a player that excites the fans and has made an instant impact at his new club. Explosive, skillful, a tireless worker and clinical goalscorer, Alexis is a top player and difference maker in forward areas. Either playing centrally or on the flanks, he should create and score goals for you. He is only let down by his one-footedness.

After his fantastic start as an Arsenal player, Alexis is an even better player following the update. Probably the best player you have at your disposal in a number of roles.

Alexis_zps7e0a0215.jpg

Danny Welbeck

Nationality: England-icon_zps506ba81b.png | Position: ST | Secondary Positions: AM (L) | Age: 23 | Number: 23 | Wage: £90k

One of the more interesting transfers in recent times. With Manchester United signing certain other forwards, Welbeck found his way to Arsenal on deadline day for £16mil. Despite being often criticised for not being prolific enough in front of goal, Welbeck is a good finisher and a great athlete. Potentially, he could be a great striker for Arsenal and would be my preferred choice to lead the line.

Olivier Giroud

Nationality: Franceicon_zps45bfac07.png | Position: ST| Secondary Positions: None | Age: 27 | Number: 12 | Wage: £80k

Giroud is something of a traditional target man, though isn't lacking in technical ability. His height and strength enable him to hold the ball up top and bring others into play, and he's not a bad finisher, either. He's a very different option to the likes of Alexis, Walcott and Welbeck, but a very useful one to have.

He also can't help that he's gorgeous.

[b]Verdict[/b]
   This is definitely the strongest area of the squad. You have an array of options and plenty of depth, so there's no need to sign any more attackers. If anything, you're more likely to need to offload one or two just to keep everyone happy.

[color="#FF0000"]With Podolski and Campbell on loan, you have less options than before, but are still far from short-handed here.[/color] 

Tactics

4231_zpsa916a788.png433_zpsb6b1342b.png

442Diamond_zps3536c81a.png

Above are screenshots of the formations which I believe to be the most suitable for the current Arsenal squad. I'll go through each one.

Firstly, we have the 4-2-3-1, Arsenal's staple formation for a few years now. A very popular formation in football at the moment, the 4-2-3-1 is flexible, being easily able to transition into the more defensive 4-4-1-1 or 4-4-2/4-3-3 when going forward depending on which roles you use. Traditionally, the formation is played with two holding midfeidlers that protect the defence and allow the attacking midfielder in front of them to roam and create without having to worry too much about defending. However, you can also have one of your central midfielders play a more expansive role in the side and this is what Arsenal did throughout most of last season with Aaron Ramsey by starting him deeper but allowing him to make late runs into the penalty area to score goals.

With pacey wingers in the squad, the role of your wide players should be to cause havoc with their direct play and to provide a scoring threat in behind the opposition. Alternatively, you can do what Arsenal did in real life and have a floating playmaker on one or both sides of the central attacking midfielder, which will enable you to keep more of the ball at the expense of a bit of penetration.

Next, we have 4-3-3. Arsenal are attempting to play this shape in the 14/15 season and are having mixed success. The trick to this shape is to close the space between the lone forward and the central midfielders and this can be done in various ways: by pushing a central midfielder up the field to feed the front three and get beyond the lone forward; dropping the striker deeper, allowing midfield runners to beyond him; or by having one or both of the wide players duck in off the flank, allowing a fullback to push forward and maintain width. You could even use a combination of any of those. Arsenal have the players to pull all that off, with Ramsey being a goal threat from midfield, Walcott, Alexis and Podolski being potent scorers from wide or Ozil and Cazorla having the creativity from wide areas.

Finally, we have the diamond. It's a formation that's making something of a comeback as more and more teams are looking for a way to play with two strikers without sacrificing numbers in midfield. Due to its narrowness, players in this formation are required to cover more ground than usual, so it's not the easiest of formations to get right. Width needs to be created to enable more expansive play, and this can done by: pushing the fullbacks high up the pitch, having the two central midfielders play wider, having the AM drift into wider positions or by having the strikers drift into wider positions. As with the 4-3-3, you can use a combination of these. This isn't the easiest of formations to pull off, but it does allow you to get your best players in their best positions.

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The Academy

Jonker_zpse7a6f543.jpg

The club has recently placed more emphasis on the academy to produce homegrown players with the potential of playing for first team and have brought in Dutchman Andries Jonker to help accomplish this. With excellent youth facilities and junior coaching, the academy should produce good players for you. Currently, you have two youth squads: the U21s (formerly the reserves) and the U18s.

Below are some of the stand-out talents from both squads:

Julio Pleguezuelo

Nationality: Spainicon_zpsb65cdfb2.png | Position: D © | Secondary Positions: None | Age: 17

One of the many youngsters Arsenal have signed from Barcelona in recent times, "Pleggy" is good on the ball and has decent pace, though is lacking a bit of height and power for a centre back. A bit of work could turn him into a decent covering or ball playing centre back, though his ceiling isn't that high.

Hector Bellerin

Nationality: Spainicon_zpsb65cdfb2.png | Position: D ® | Secondary Positions: WB, M, AM ® | Age: 19

Another Barcelona product, Bellerin has, of late, been making great strides, putting in excellent performances at youth level and now beginning to make more first team appearances. Bellerin's in-game stats suffer a bit due to his outstanding acceleration, but there is room there for him to grow into a good wing back.

Gedion Zelalem

Nationality: Germanyicon_zps4ead4eaf.png | Position: AM © | Secondary Positions: M © | Age: 17

The German-American-Ethiopian playmaker was discovered playing in the USA by scout Danny Karbassiyoon. He signed for Arsenal at 16, and has already drawn comparison to Cesc Fabregas with his ability to play outstanding through passes. After making a few appearances for the Gunners on their pre-season tour of Asia, Zelalem has made a couple of first team appearances already and has been touted by Wenger to be ready for more first team action very soon.

This isn't quite reflected in-game. Although he's got high potential, Zelalem needs a lot of work to fulfil it.

Dan Crowley

Nationality: England-icon_zps506ba81b.png | Position: M © | Secondary Positions: AM © | Age: 16

Signed from Aston Villa, Crowley is one the brightest English talents around. Very skilful and able to play split open defences seemingly at will, Crowley has excited many Arsenal fans. In game, his technical level is already quite high despite a curiously weak first touch and he should develop into a very good attacking midfielder.

Serge Gnabry

Nationality: Germanyicon_zps4ead4eaf.png | Position: AM © | Secondary Positions: M (CR), A ® | Age: 19

The young German is currently regarded as the best U21 talent at the club, both in game and in real life. An explosive player, capable of scoring some spectacular goals, Gnabry has unfortunately had his first team opportunities limited due to a knee injury, from which he still recovering. With lots of attacking midfield talent available to you, it may be worth sending him out on loan after he recovers from his injury.

Ainsley Maintland-Niles

Nationality: England-icon_zps506ba81b.png | Position: AM ® | Secondary Positions: None | Age: 16

Looks to be a traditional winger who looks to beat his man then get crosses into the box. A good talent worth developing.

Chuba Akpom

Nationality: England-icon_zps506ba81b.png | Position: ST | Secondary Positions: AM (L) | Age: 18

A prolific scorer for Arsenal at youth levels. Akpom is a pacey, powerful forward and a clinical goalscorer. Not the highest potential, but could turn into a decent striker.

Yaya Sanogo

Nationality: Franceicon_zps45bfac07.png | Position: ST| Secondary Positions: None | Age: 21

A target of much mockery by fans alike, Sanogo is a raw player. FM players will remember him as being a "must have" young player on past versions of the game, but unfortunately injury has prevented him from fulfilling his potential. He has a high talent ceiling, but at 21, it'll take some work for him to reach that level.

Coaches and Scouts

Bould_zps89897ea7.jpg

With the introduction of the tracksuit manager, you will have the chance to specialise in a certain field and be part of the club's coaching set-up. Not knowing what sort of coach people will be, I will write this part of the guide without factoring in the player manager.

Arsenal have a collection of great coaches and you shouldn't need to tinker with the set-up too much. Your assistant manager is Steve Bould, an icon at the club. He's got solid judgement when it comes to players and can serve as a defending coach for you so if you feel you need a better Ass Man, he can stay at the club in that capacity.

Below him, you have Steve Gatting, the U21s Manager and an excellent tactics coach, and his assistant Carl Laraman. Laraman doesn't bring much to the coaching set-up and could be expendable.

Which type of coach you replace him with will depend on how you use Boro Primorac. Primorac has been at the club as long as Wenger has and is excellent coaching ball control, tactics, attacking and shooting. With a tactical expert in Gatting and a decent technical coach in Banfield already there, I recommend using him for either attacking or shooting.

There are two top-notch goalkeeper coaches already at the club in the form of Gerry Peyton and Tony Roberts. The fitness department is excellent, too, with Tony Colbert, Shad Forsythe and Mark Armitage. Marcus Svensson is surplus to requirements here.

So to start with, you'd probably only need to sign one coach for attacking or shooting to have at least 3.5 stars in every field for first team training.

As far as the scouts go, you have excellent scouts at your disposal. The only change you may want to make is replacing Ty Gooden, who isn't quite up to the standard of the rest of them.

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Transfer Targets

The aim of this section is to compile an extensive list of possible transfer targets that people can refer to.

The UK

Players playing in England, Scotland and Wales.

John Stones

Club: Everton | Position: D (CR) | Age: 20

A talented ball-playing centre back that's regarded one of the country's brightest defensive talents. Stones looks to be a top centre back in the making and is also comfortable at right back. May require a large fee to prise him away from Everton.

Nathaniel Clyne

Club: Southampton | Position: D ® | Age: 23

A right back with very good physical and technical stats. Very good defensively, and with his pace and crossing ability he can be a threat going forward, too. Can be purchased for a reasonable price.

Victor Wanyama

Club: Southampton | Position: DM, M © | Age: 23

An archetypal midfield destroyer, Wanyama is a physical brute with stats perhaps better suited for a centre half. Distinctly lacking in technical ability, but would certainly add the physicality that Arsenal's midfield needs.

Morgan Schneiderlin

Club: Southampton | Position: DM, M © | Age: 24

Another one from Southampton. Schneiderlin was a popular target in real life for Arsenal fans, and in game it's easy to see why. He's a tireless ball winner with a good level of passing and creativity to go with it.

James McCarthy

Club: Everton | Position: DM, M (CR) | Age: 23

An alternative to Schneiderlin. McCarthy has similar stats, with the main difference being that the Irishman is more mobile.

Dele Alli

Club: MK Dons | Position: M, AM © | Age: 18

A young player that very much reminds me of Abou Diaby. Tall, powerful and technically gifted, Alli could be a potential powerhouse in your midfield.

Patrick Roberts

Club: Fulham | Position: M (RL), AM (CRL) | Age: 17

A very exciting young talent possessing great pace and dribbling ability. Will require some work on his intelligence and end product, but could develop into a great player.

Europe

Players paying in European leagues, mainly Spain, France, Germany and Italy.

Jeison Murillo

Club: Granada | Position: D © | Age: 22

Jesus Vallejo

Club: Real Zaragoza | Position: D ©, DM | Age: 17

Juan Jesus

Club: Inter Milan | Position: D © | Age: 23

Ezequiel Munoz

Club: Palermo | Position: D © | Age: 23

Sokratis Papastathopoulos

Club: Borussia Dortmund | Position: D (CR) | Age: 26

Nicolas Nkoulou

Club: Marseille | Position: D ©, DM | Age: 24

Aleksandar Dragovic

Club: Dynamo Kyiv | Position: D © | Age: 23

Benedikt Howedes

Club: Schalke | Position: D (CR) | Age: 26

Mateo Musacchio

Club: Villareal | Position: D © | Age: 23

Samuel Umtiti

Club: Lyon | Position: D (CL) | Age: 20

Matteo Darmian

Club: Torino | Position: D (RCL), WB (RL) | Age: 24

Gino Peruzzi

Club: Catania | Position: D, WB ® | Age: 22

Sven Bender

Club: Borussia Dortmund | Position: DM, M © | Age: 25

Lars Bender

Club: Bayer Leverkusen | Position: DM, M © | Age: 25

Sergi Samper

Club: Barcelona | Position: DM, M © | Age: 19

Sami Khedira

Club: Real Madrid | Position: DM, M © | Age: 27

Youri Tielemens

Club: Anderlecht | Position: M © | Age: 17

Johannes Geis

Club: Mainz | Position: DM, M © | Age: 21

Saul Niguez

Club: Atletico Madrid | Position: D, DM, M, AM © | Age: 19

Andre Ayew

Club: Marseille | Position: DM, M (CL), AM (L) | Age: 24

Memphis Depay

Club: PSV | Position: AM (L), ST | Age: 20

Marco Reus

Club: Borussia Dortmund | Position: M (RL), AM (CRL), ST | Age: 25

Munir El Haddadi

Club: Barcelona | Position: AM (CRL), ST | Age: 18

South America

Players playing in the South American leagues, mainly Brazil and Argentina.

Dede

Club: Cruzeiro | Position: D © | Age: 26

Eder Alvarez Balanta

Club: River Plate | Position: D © | Age: 21

Lucas Romero

Club: Velez | Position: DM, M © | Age: 20

Jose Luiz Valdez

Club: Quilmes | Position: ST | Age: 16

North America

Players playing in the USA.

Asia

Players playing in the Middle East or Eastern Asia.

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Records

League Titles – With 13 league titles, Arsenal are only behind Liverpool and Manchester United. However, with 18 and 20 titles respectively, Arsenal have some catching up to do. It's down to you to make Arsenal the most successful club in the country.

FA Cups – 11 FA Cups make Arsenal the join most successful club in the competition with Manchester United. Just one more to become the most successful. Easy, right?

European Trophies – Arsene Wenger couldn't win a European trophy with Arsenal – the 2006 Champions League being the closest he's ever got. Can you achieve a major milestone that the great man couldn't?

Appearances – David O'Leary stands as the club's record appearance maker with 722 appearances. The record has stood since 1993 – perhaps it's time it was broken.

Goals – Thierry Henry is the club's record goalscorer, with 176 league goals and 228 goals in all competitions. Nobody in the current Arsenal squad comes close; Theo Walcott has the most Arsenal goals currently with 69.

Henry_zps745ce519.jpg

Other goalscoring records include:

Most League Goals in a season – Ted Drake (42)

Most Goals in a 38 game season – Thierry Henry (30), Robin van Persie (30)

Most Goals in a single match – Ted Drake (7)

Most League Games Unbeaten – Stands at 49, of course. Can you go one better?

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As you can tell, the guide isn't finished yet. I'll be completing the outstanding sections this evening and tomorrow morning, and correcting a few formatting errors.

Otherwise, it's open for business. Hope you enjoy playing as Arsenal. :thup:

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Excellent. Love it :thup:.

Remember to link the thread in the official links.

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Calum Chambers

Nationality: England-icon_zps506ba81b.png | Position: D © | Secondary Positions: D ® | Age: 19 | Number: 21 | Wage: £35k

One of several great young players to emerge from Southampton's academy. Calum Chambers was something of a surprise signing for Arsenal, but early signs suggest it'll be a good once. He's one of the most talented young players at the club and looks to be comfortable as a full-back or as a centre back, having good technical skills to go with his aerial prowess. Wenger also ear-marked him as a potential midfielder, and this could be an option for you to explore.

Get him tutored and give him games and he should be a mainstay in your team for years to come.

He was a midfielder for about 9 years in Southampton's academy before converting relatively recently to a defender, its hardly a Wenger masterstroke to view him potentially playing in midfield.

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I was trying to quote you there JEinchy and ended up editing and saving over all your hard work :o I think I have fixed it again now, I was panicking.

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Great effort!

Nearly finished pre-season and have bought in Morgan Schneiderlin and Virgil van Dijk so far - currently weighing up a bid for Memphis Depay as well...

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Great thread, Jamie. Really good read. Started an Arsenal save on the beta, just to assess things. Will certainly be taking to the editor once the full game comes out to change a few things, particularly amongst the youth players.

Also, Aaron Ramsey seems to work as a box-to-box midfielder in a 4-2-3-1 formation on this season's game - something I couldn't achieve throughout Football Manager 2014. His altered 'preferred moves' certainly has a part to play in it, as well as improvements to the match engine. Midfield fluidity at last!

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He was a midfielder for about 9 years in Southampton's academy before converting relatively recently to a defender, its hardly a Wenger masterstroke to view him potentially playing in midfield.

Not many people apart from ones that followed Southamptons academy are likely to have known that though! Surely he would have midfield as his strongest position, even in previous versions of FM

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I think this thread will be dominated by chat about defensive midfielders and centre backs for the first few weeks. Have only set-up my game so far so the search for defensive reinforcements starts tonight. Any pointers will be greatly appreciated.

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Thank, everyone, for the kind words.

I've made some more updates this morning:

  • Completed the Tactics part of the guide. My plan is to expand this section after I've played around with the tactics a bit more.
  • Started work on The Academy section. Just need to add some info about the players and that'll be done.
  • Wrote up the Coaches and Scouts section. Still need to add some info about the U18s coaching set-up.
  • Transfer Targets section ready for us. Just need to fill it with players now. This'll be a continuous process.
  • Added the following Youtube clips: Michael Thomas' winner at Anfield; highlights of the Cup Winners' Cup final; Henry's hat-trick vs Liverpool in 2004. I plan to add more later.

It'd useful if some could look at Marc Bola, Chiori Johnson, Savvos Mourgos and Kaylen Hinds on their saves and tell me what their star ratings are, as I've a feeling these guys may have random attributes and potential.

Great effort!

Nearly finished pre-season and have bought in Morgan Schneiderlin and Virgil van Dijk so far - currently weighing up a bid for Memphis Depay as well...

Schneiderlin is an excellent choice - somebody I wish we had gotten in real life. How much did he cost you?

Van Dijk looks an interesting choice. Seems he has some potential to get better. Let us know how he gets on.

Great thread, Jamie. Really good read. Started an Arsenal save on the beta, just to assess things. Will certainly be taking to the editor once the full game comes out to change a few things, particularly amongst the youth players.

Also, Aaron Ramsey seems to work as a box-to-box midfielder in a 4-2-3-1 formation on this season's game - something I couldn't achieve throughout Football Manager 2014. His altered 'preferred moves' certainly has a part to play in it, as well as improvements to the match engine. Midfield fluidity at last!

Of all the youth players, I'm disappointed the most with Bellerin's attributes. I know his high pace will drop the rest of his stats, but I was hoping for something a bit better... Ah well. This isn't the thread to discuss that.

Good to know Ramsey can play his best role in a 4-2-3-1. It's certainly something I'll be trying.

I think this thread will be dominated by chat about defensive midfielders and centre backs for the first few weeks. Have only set-up my game so far so the search for defensive reinforcements starts tonight. Any pointers will be greatly appreciated.

I spent a good part of last night scouting potential targets for centre back and defensive midfield. I'm not entirely sure of the prices yet, but some names to look at are Lars Bender (Leverkusen), Sven Bender (Dortmund), Morgan Schneiderlin (Southampton), Mateo Mussachio (Villareal), Dede (Cruzeiro) and Howedes (Schalke). The majority of them will cost more £10mil, but they're all players that will add something.

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Top work JEinchy.

I only had time to load the game, set up an Arsenal save and have a quick look around at the new features. I will check out those defensive midfielders tonight hopefully. I'll also check out the Croatian lad that the club have been apparently interested in, Marcelo Brozovic.

Considering the players coming in already this summer £47.5m seems like a huge transfer budget. I'm tempted to hold off spending too much of it and maybe look to get a marquee winger and a left back in the summer of 2015 if, as I suspect, Diaby, Podolski, Monreal and Rosicky prove to be nothing more than a burden to the payroll. It will be interesting to see how consistent Walcott is when he returns in the game.

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I spent a good part of last night scouting potential targets for centre back and defensive midfield. I'm not entirely sure of the prices yet, but some names to look at are Lars Bender (Leverkusen), Sven Bender (Dortmund), Morgan Schneiderlin (Southampton), Mateo Mussachio (Villareal), Dede (Cruzeiro) and Howedes (Schalke). The majority of them will cost more £10mil, but they're all players that will add something.

I did the same. Got rid of Monreal (pretty immediately), Podolski, Rosicky (both mid July) Flamini (mid August), and Joel Campbell (end of window) for about 120% of value. Picked up James McCarthy from Everton to shore up the middle and Nathanial Clyne as an extra back-up for both fullback positions (and to challenge Debuchy). Lots of interesting CB's out there for decent prices: scouts also dug up Juan Jesus (Inter), Ezequiel Munoz (Palermo), Jeison Murillo (Granada), and last year's hit Eder Alvarez Balanta (River). I chose the CB/LB Samuel Umtiti from OL, a decent deal at £11mil and £21/week wages, aged 20, who seems like a traditional Arsenal target, with potential to be a "star player" and is "highly professional," two phrases I looked for in the scouting reports.

Scouts also found the Argentine DM Lucas Romero from Velez, also "star player" and "highly professional," so I grabbed him for just £6.75mil and £32/week. Only 20 years old too; Bould says he "could be one of the best players at the club," so I'm looking forward to watching him grow.

Also, at the beginning of the game my scouts found Kristoffer Ajer from Start (Norway), on a free transfer. DM/MC, only 16, predicted to be a "key player."

On the veteran end, take a look at Bruno, a 30-yr-old DM from Villarreal. A tougher, more-defensive minded Arteta, but with similar good passing and technique, and at only £3.1mil for £25/week, a much cheaper (and two-years-younger) version of Arteta. An upgrade for fullbacks could be Camilo Zuniga ("fairly susceptible to injuries," though, like Arsenal need another of those), or Inter's Yuto Nagatomo at £12mil ("Highly professional," a "leading player"), both of whom can play both left and right.

Off-topic, I can't really stand this new match engine. Lots of players pausing when they get the ball, ball moves like it's being played on very long grass, etc; not very fun to watch quite yet.

PS, for anyone interested in grabbing Wanyama, he's available for about £15mil through early July, but Southampton soon changes their tune and refuses to sell for less than £50mil; if you want him, move quickly.

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I signed Lucas Romero, too. I knew him from a save last year where he turned into a brilliant player.

Some good names there and I'll make sure to get them on the targets list.

I was actually offered Leonardo Bonucci and Sokratis Papastathopoulos by their respective agents and the prices weren't bad. Anyone else get this?

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*Cough* *Cough* Reus with a low release clause *Cough* Cough*

*Cough* *Cough* Depay for cheap *Cough* *Cough*

Just a few of the signings I made in an experimental first transfer window..

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Reus no longer has the clause in mine, only in November :(

Brought in Sven Bender (22m) and Dede (11.75m) in the firt window, got rid of Podolski (11.5) Campbell (7.5) and flamini (3.5)

Improvements to the youth and training facilities are under way and currently joint top with city on 26 points from 11 games

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Has anyone been able to land Reus?

EDIT: Okay, so I just managed to get him to agree to a £150k p/w contract with a £35k appearance fee plus tons of other clauses. I'd normally not do this but it's Marco ****ing Reus!

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I've finally played through pre-season and to the first international break. Signed just the two players in Dede (£11.5 million from Cruzeiro) and Lucas Romero (£8 million from Velez Sarsfield) to bolster my defensive options, while Joel Campbell left to Newcastle for £7 million; it seems I left it too late to offload Coquelin and Flamini, so they're still with me as emergency backup players.

I'm playing a pretty straightforward 4-2-3-1 with inside forwards and an advanced playmaker and just six team instructions: Retain Possession, Pass Into Space, Shorter Passing, Whipped Crosses, Push Higher Up and Close Down More. Simply, the aim is to play short, quick passes in the opposition half and create chances for the front three.

It seems to be working quite well so far. We lead the Community Shield game against City 2-1 for 88 minutes until we cocked it up at the end and lost on penalties, and we beat Dnipro 5-0 over two legs to qualify for the Champions League.

We got off to a good start in the league by beating Burnley 3-1 at Turf Moore with a brace from Chamberlain and a debut goal from Romero. This was followed by a 3-1 win home win over Southampton, Welbeck scoring twice and Chamberlain scoring again. We rounded off August by beating Spurs 2-0 at White Hart Lane with second half goals from Podolski and Ozil.

September sees us play Crystal Palace, QPR and Man Utd in the league, Leicester in the COC and Juventus in our first CL group game. Hopefully the niggly injuries to my attackers will stop by the time the bigger games come about.

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Nice thread JEinchy. :)

One observation though; the 4-0 win over Everton in 1998 wasn't on the last day of the season - it was the clubs last home game of the season. After that they went on to lose their final two games of the season; 4-0 away at Liverpool and 1-0 at Aston Villa.

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The experiences of my game thus far:

I started out with the same tactics that I used on FM14. A narrow 2-3-2-1-2 with attacking wingbacks. It leaves me open on the counter, but when I get the ball rolling, there's no stopping it. Much like last year, wingbacks in this setup are ridiculously overpowered. Gibbs is my 4th highest goalscorer with 6 goals and 5 assists in 16 matches (two of those as a sub). Debuchy on the other side has gotten himself 8 assists in 19 apps, leading the charts. My forwards are also doing well with 3 of the 4 (the last being the injured Walcott) heading my scoring charts. Halfway into the season, Sanchez and Welbeck are both into double digits. I'm currently heading the league (though I have more matches played compared to Tottenham, so they might catch up), barely ahead of ManU, Spurs and Chelsea. I've also gotten out of a rather easy CL group with only one hickup against Sporting CP.

The biggest struggles thus far have been a few of the matches against smaller teams. They seem to outplay me at times, which might be down to overconfidence or pitch issues. I'll to look into tactics tweaks for rainy days.

Transfers in:

Eder Balanta

Youri Tielemans

Lars Bender

Gino Peruzzi

Maximillian Meyer (last minute panic buy, but seems to be progressing well)

Transfers out:

Cazorla

Podolski

Joel Campbell

Arteta

Coquelin

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will be starting a save with Arsenal when I get back. Looks like decent/realistic expectations but the ability to grow and develop some cracking youth players. Esp Dan Crowley who was nicked from Villa!

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I disabled the transfers at the start to make it more realistic and use the young players. Got to November 1st and the board have made £120m available for tranfers! WOW!

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Spending the January window trying to get Munir from Barcelona, looks a real talent, min release clause just over 10m as well!

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Finished playing through September.

Our good form has continued in the league. We beat Palace 4-2 at home with goals from Mertesacker, Wilshere and a brace from Alexis, but two errors at the back saw us concede twice towards the end - seems to be a bad habit we have at the moment (or defenders are just prone to errors in the current version of the game).

QPR away came next. They had started the season well and were 4th in the table, fresh off beating Man Utd, and it turned out to be a tough game. They played better than us, took the lead twice through Isla and Austin and looked likely to win until my players surprised me and found a way back into the game. Giroud equalised for us, then I threw on Ozil despite him not being fully fit. He changed the game completely, setting up Wilshere to put us ahead for the first time in the 88th minute, then playing Giroud in with a brilliant first time lay-off in the 92nd minute to ensure the points would be coming home with us.

We ended the month with a thrilling 4-1 win at home against Man Utd. This was probably our best performance this season so far. Romero put us ahead with a header from a set-piece, then van Persie equalised with a 25 yard free-kick. We responded really well to that and five minutes later Chamberlain put us back ahead with a great solo goal, then Giroud added another a minute later. In the second half, I made sure that my flanks were well protected so my full-backs wouldn't get doubled up on by their LCM and RCM and advancing fullbacks and it seemed to work well. We were very solid, and looked dangerous every team we countered through Ozil, Alexis and Chamberlain. Giroud added a fourth for us late on and it really could have been more. Scoring four and not giving van Persie or Falcao a single chance on our goal made for an incredibly pleasing game.

So that leaves us top of the league with six wins from six. A trip to Anfield comes next.

In the Champions League, we were unlucky not to come away from Juventus with a win. Podolski scored twice to give us a 2-1 lead having gone 1-0 down early on, and it looked like we would just about hold on to get a great win until Giovinco scored a suspiciously offside equaliser in the last minute of the game. Gutted about how it ended, but a point from our hardest game in the group is not a bad start.

We beat Leciester 2-0 in the COC. I was really happy with how the game turned out as I managed to give Diaby, Zelalem and Dan Crowley run-outs. Crowley set-up both the goals, first splitting the Leicester defence with a through pass to set Giroud away to put us ahead, then crossing for Gedion Zelalem to nod in from close range. Swansea at home await us in the 4th round.

So it's going well so far. We're playing good football and scoring goals, though I'm concerned about how many we're shipping as inevitably there'll be a game where we don't take our chances. Giroud has done very well in Welbeck's absence and has 6 goals from 7 games, while Chamberlain has been in incredible form, scoring 4 and assisting 6 in 8 games. Ozil also has 6 assists.

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It'd useful if some could look at Marc Bola, Chiori Johnson, Savvos Mourgos and Kaylen Hinds on their saves and tell me what their star ratings are, as I've a feeling these guys may have random attributes and potential.

Marc Bola - 0.5* to 1.5* PA

Chiori Johnson - copy and paste above

Savvas Mourgos - 1.5* to 2.5* PA

Kaylen Hinds - 1* to 2* PA

Elias Chek - 2.5* to 3.5* PA (same as Crowley) - both look pretty reasonable actually

Offered out Joel Campbell for 12m (pretty much as soon as I started) and Monaco came in, bit their hands off

Have loaded all players from Scandinavia - will report back on any hidden gems I find (sent scouts to Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland respectively)

THIS IS NOT MY FULLTIME SAVE, I'm finding out players/testing formations etc (I create my own side btw, so a lot of effort goes in here)

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Managed to play my first month and found out that Podolski is amazing Raumdeuter. He was just picked player of the month for august (3 goals in 2 matches) and he also netted a hattrick against Athletic on Champ league gualifier.

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Managed to play my first month and found out that Podolski is amazing Raumdeuter. He was just picked player of the month for august (3 goals in 2 matches) and he also netted a hattrick against Athletic on Champ league gualifier.

Santi does that for me. 7 Goals in 8 apps (1 sub).

I've brought in Howedes, Khedira and Sule so far. Flamini, Poldi and Coq out.

Howedes cost me 13m which I thought was a bit of a bargain, but press said I'd overspent(!).

Not been able to get the best out of Rambo yet, but may try him as Box to Box later. He's done alright as a Roaming Playmaker, but not to the true Ramsey levels - 1 goal so far and that was a pen.

On the plus side, Ozil seems better than last year.

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Has anyone been able to offload Poldi without the other Germans complaining about it? I offered him out which lead to Ozil & Mertesacker complaining.

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Has anyone been able to offload Poldi without the other Germans complaining about it? I offered him out which lead to Ozil & Mertesacker complaining.

he complained when I offered him out (wanted to prove himself) but noone has complained otherwise (Per and Ozil were slt'd though)

no-one bites at 16m though, so knocking it down (Roma interested)

I went for:

Khacheridi at DC, 16.25m and 45k per week wages got him in (and some valuable competition to Per and Kos)

Nyland at GK, 700k+Friendly and 7k per week wages (while Ospina is out) - might loan him out in Jan

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Didn't have to. Roma came in for him otherwise I wouldn't have sold. Was gonna replace him but Santi has been a beast on AML (Raumdeuter) and Campbell has been more than adequate cover.

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Just finished my first season as Arsenal and it didn't go as well as I had planned at all after finding myself struggling to get a tactic to work!

First things first, I'll give you my transfer activity:

Summer Transfer Window

Ins

Javier Pastore - £33 million for PSG

Sokratis Papastathopoulos - £12.75 million from Dortmund

James Milner - £16.5 million from Man City (I have no idea why I went through with this!)

Vincent Wanyama - £16.5 million from Southampton

Pavel Savitskiy - £100K from Neman Grodno

Outs

Joel Campbell - £15 million to Monaco

Mathieu Flamini - £5 million to Zenit

Lukas Podolski - £14.5 million to Roma

January Transfer Window

Ins

Sergi Roberto - £2.2 million from Barcelona

Joe Gomez - £5.25 million from Charlton (loaned back untill end of season)

Outs

Francis Coquelin - £1 million to Crystal Palace

Abou Diaby - £1 million to Lorient

Natxo Monreal - £6.75 million to Southampton

Things started out well as I beat Man City in the Community Shield 9-8 on penalties after a 3-3 draw, with us coming back from 3-1 down. However, we had a bad start in the league. Despite winning our first league game, we only won 1 of our next 8 games! (a 3-1 win away to Man Utd)

Results began to pick up in the league but were never anything spectaular. On top of this, we were drawn in a group of death in the Champions League, drawn alongside Juventus, Ajax and Monaco.

Despite the tough group, we managed to go through in second place with 13 points, 1 point behind Juventus. As all of this was going on my second team was slowly working their way through the Capital One Cup with good wins against Sunderland, Hull and Leicester coming before Christmas.

With the turn of the year we beat Doncaster and West Brom in the FA Cup before going out in a replay against Southampton. Despite this, we beat Southampton in the Capital One Cup semi final over two legs to set up a final at Wembley against Man City, a repeat of the Community Shield.

At around the same time we had to play Barcelona in the first knockout round of the Champions League, a consequence of only finishing second in the group stage. We won the first leg at home 3-2. and were winning the second leg at the Nou Camp 2-1 until the 84th minute, from where Barcelona scored two goals to take the game to extra time.

In extra time, you could tell the players legs had gone and were running on empty, as Barcelona scored 3 more past us to end the game 6-2 and the tie 8-5 on aggregate.

With us still struggling to break into the top 4 in the league, the Capital One Cup final came upon us, and Manchester City awaited us at Wembley. I could see that this was the only chance of success this season and so played the first team. We got off to a great start with Mesut Ozil scoring after 3 minutes, and we went on from there to win the game and the trophy comfortably with a 4-0 victory!

League results picked up for a while and as the season's end grew near, it seemed like we may nick a place in the top four, however after drawing three of our four final matches, we fell out of the running for a Champions League spot and finished the season 7th with 66 points.

The League standings were:

1st - Chelsea

2nd - Tottenham

3rd - Liverpool

4th - Everton

5th - Man Utd

6th - Man City

7th - Arsenal

8th - Southampton

9th Aston Villa

10th- Newcastle

11th - Swansea

12th - West Brom

13th - Stoke

14th - QPR

15th - Sunderland

16th - Leicester

17th - Hull

18th - Crystal Palace

19th - Burnley

20th - West Ham

Luckily I was rewarded with a new contract after negotiating my way through the group stages of the Champions League so my job should be safe for now. I will be looking to rebuild the squad over the summer as hopefully I'll be given a decent transfer budget with which to do this with, and hopefully I'll perform much better in my second season and find a tactic which gets the best out of the players available to me!

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Screwed up my season at the end and finished second, man utd won the league and having lost to Everton on the second last fixture giving them a 3 point lead over me in 3rd, needed them to lose and me to win to nick second, which i did. Squad bottled it with 7 games to go and Utd won with a 7 point gap :( No trophies first season, but i didnt expect to get anything early on :D

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Arsenal are in need of a Mikel Arteta replacement, as JEinchy stressed in his excellent opening post. Needless to say, you need to replace Arteta's tactical ability as well as upgrade on his physical capabilities. While William Carvalho and Morgan Schneiderlin are the obvious, and best, options, here are two alternatives:-

JohannesGeis-Aug14_zpsc3dff4fb.png

FSV. Mainz and German Under-21 midfielder, Johannes Geis. Very much an Arsenal player in terms of technical ability, Geis is an excellent distributor from both open play and set-pieces and one worthy of replacing Arteta. He does leave a little to be desired in a defensive capacity, but he is feisty, he is robust and he is only 20-years-old. He can certainly improve. Also, he shouldn't cost much more than £10 million.

SergiSamper-Aug14_zpsa8950b48.png

If you want an authentic Arteta replacement, look no further than Sergi Samper. Excellent technically, he also possesses great tactical qualities for a 19-year-old: excellent anticipation, decision-making and positional awareness. He also has a minimum release clause of £10,250,000 - excellent value for a 19-year-old future star.

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