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trman73

After 10 years with FM, my first career update

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trman73   

Leicester City 2030-2031 Season Review

Premier League: 18-8-12, 62 pts., 7th

Predicted to finish in 17th and tasked by the board to avoid a relegation battle, we blew each of those predictions out of the water quickly, and established ourselves comfortably in mid-table early in the season. We had 30 points in the first half and 32 in the second half. We finished eighth in scoring and seventh in goals allowed and miraculously snuck into that final Europa League spot by winning four of our last five. Personally, I got more joy out of the ups-and-downs of this season than I did rolling through everyone with Juventus last year. Grade: A-

FA Cup: Knocked Out in Fourth Round by Middlesbrough

Of our three competitions, this was the only one where we didn't meet board expectations. Not much to say about this one. We destroyed a minnow in Kidderminster and then laid an egg in the loss. Grade: D

EFL Cup: Lost in Semifinal to Wolves

Our run in this cup really built confidence in the first half of the year, as we knocked off both Liverpool and Chelsea on the road en route to the semis. We could have, and should have, played better against a Wolves team that had our number this year, but it was a quality performance over the five rounds. Grade: A-

Overall Grade: A-

Season Most Valuable Player: F Les Burton

This was a really hard decision as we had no truly elite players (we were totally shut out in awards season), but a lot of very good ones. Burton was somewhat inconsistent for us, but wound up with 19 goals and 12 assists overall, both leading the team, including 16 and 11 in EPL matches. Runners-Up: AMC Michael Platt was going to be replaced in the lineup midway through the year, but was an absolute monster in the second half, and finished with nine goals, eight assists, and a 7.02 rating in all competitions. And GK Christy Smyth went from allowing 62 goals in 38 matches last year to allowing 36 in 36 this year, and was one of the best keepers in the league.

As for our fan awards...

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Van Eijden probably was our best player over the course of the year, but he served suspensions totaling six matches, so I just can't.

As for my signings, Platt, Jean-Paul Meert, and Walter Morales were all excellent. Mid-season acquisition Sam Austin was as well and took over the starting central defender spot from Pazzaglia. Gary Smyth and Bill Armson were poor, and John Jones and Jose Antonio didn't see enough action to make a judgment, although Antonio will feature more next season.

Overall, a really fun season. I'm looking forward to strengthening the team.

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Leicester City 2031 Off-Season Report

We waste no time in making some decisions. First, we buy MC Cesar Meneses permanently from Stoke for $5 million. He played well for us and is just 25. He's part of our future.

Next, we list a whole bunch of guys:

  • MC Timothy Fosu-Mensah - Old and losing steam.
  • MC Rolando Vieira - Ditto.
  • F Bill Armson - An acquisition of mine that just didn't work out. Will make way for John Jones, who is younger and more talented.
  • GK Jose Vallinotti - Sucked when he played, and bitched about not playing more. Will be replaced internally.
  • DC Roberto Valle - Never saw much action and we have too many defenders. Snatched up by FC Nantes for a minimal fee.

We also list four guys who are over 23 but in our Under 23s who never saw any action for me. I will take anything for them.

My priority is central midfield, as we need to bring in at least one, but preferably two, offensive-oriented guys to flank Meneses, who will move into the center spot.

We get one immediately, as we capture 22-year-old Samir Dali, who was toiling in Man City's Under 23s.

Then I do something crazy - I bring in two guys who I had on my back-to-back Champions League winning Juventus teams. First is Nikola Andric, the 29-year-old Serbian. Second is Mark O'Shea, the 27-year-old Irishman. Neither of these guys played well last year under different coaches, but they're both quality players, and I get the three new midfielders for a total of $36.75 million.

We sell Vieira to Crystal Palace, Fosu-Mensah to Bournemouth, Armson to Bolton, and Valle to Nantes.

As training camp opens for us in China, here are our new faces...

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I'm happy with our revamped midfield, and am ready to start the season with the group I have right now.

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Posted (edited)

Leicester City Pre-Season Report

In the midst of our pre-season in China, we learn who our opponent will be for the Third Qualifying Round of the Euro Cup. We'll get either Scottish side St. Johnstone, or Czech side Jablonec. I will admit to knowing literally nothing about either of these clubs except that we should beat them.

We wind up with Jablonec.

We play four friendlies in advance of the Euro Cup opener, and we're less than inspiring despite going 2-2-0:

  • Beijing 0, Leicester 2 - An early goal from Meert and a late one from newcomer O'Shea.
  • Shanggang 2, Leicester 2 - We give up a late one for the draw.
  • Yongchang 0, Leicester 1 - We get a late goal from Meert to salvage a dull game.
  • Leicester 1, Celtic 1 - We give up another late one to draw our only home friendly.

We've got a bit of a problem heading into the Cup matches next week, as we're without two forwards, Les Burton and John Jones. We have only two forwards on the squad - Lee Wilding and Claudio Navarro. I make a couple loan offers as the season approaches.

Edited by trman73

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Posted (edited)

Leicester City 2031-2032 Season Preview

We head into the season hoping to build on our 7th-place finish from a year ago. I think we're a better team than we were three months ago, and certainly a better team than we were 12 months ago. Here's the roster:

Goalkeeper - Christy Smyth returns coming off easily the best season of his career. We rate him as a 4.5-star keeper after a ratings boost late last year. He's going to be backed up by a 19-year-old, Daniel Doyle, who's a fantastic prospect. He'll see Under 23s action and sit on the bench for the main squad, only used if Smyth goes down.

Defense - No new faces here. van Eijden on the left side, Sam Austin and Mohamed Alaoui in the middle, and Walter Morales on the right. Good, strong backups all around, including Enrico Pazzaglia and the American, Damon Delgado.

Center Midfield - I'm starting newcomer and former Juve man Nikola Andric on the left side, with Meert on the right and Cesar Meneses in the middle. I'm far more comfortable with my reserves this year, as O'Shea will see a lot of time, Sabatini is just fine, and the youngster Samir Dali is an emergency option, though one I trust.

Attacking Midfielder - Michael Platt returns here, but Jose Antonio will see time as well. Solid here.

Forwards - My plan is to pair Burton and Wilding, which was our best duo last season. Navarro will see time, Jones is fourth on the depth chart, and I have a bid in for a loaner as additional backup.

I really like this team, particularly its depth. There are two spots - keeper and right back - where I would not be confident if the starter went down. Other than that, I've got two quality options everywhere.

Season Expectations

Premier League - Board Expectation: Mid-Table; Media Prediction: 14th

Euro Cup - Board Expectation: Second Knockout Round

FA Cup - Board Expectation: Fifth Round

EFL Cup - Board Expectation: Fourth Round

So for the domestic cups, I'd like to make the quarterfinals of each, and advance to the final of one of them. But those are so hard to predict. For the Euro Cup, I think the expectation is fair. West Ham made the final of the competition last year, and we're about on par with what they brought. So I'll say yes, second knockout round, and then one round beyond that to the quarters.

As for the EPL, I think an improvement over last year is very realistic. So I'm going to say we improve by four points and finish 19-9-10. That will be good enough for fifth, and we get back to Euro Cup without having to go through the qualifying stages.

I think we can score a dozen more goals than a year ago, and I'll say we concede five more than last year. That would give us a +16 differential, which is about right for a fifth-place team.

I'm excited to get going.

Edited by trman73

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Posted (edited)

July 31, 2031 - Euro Cup Third Qualifying Round, First Leg: Leicester vs. Jablonec

Again, I know nothing about these guys and I expect to put this one away in the first 90 minutes. They got here by beating a team just called B36 from the Faroe Islands in the first round, and St. Johnstone in the second round (1-0 on aggregate). They lost to a Serie B team, Chievo, in a friendly a couple weeks ago. I want a 3-0 win in this home leg.

Well, that's the exact score. It takes us a while to break through, but Wilding does so in the 44th right before halftime. Navarro gets one in the 63rd, and Wilding caps it off with his second in the 77th, and we'll head to the Czech Republic with this one firmly in hand.

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Edited by trman73

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August 7, 2031 - Euro Cup Third Qualifying Round, Second Leg: Jablonec vs. Leicester (Leicester leads, 3-0)

I feel comfortable starting a number of reserves in this one to build up their fitness for the start of the EPL season. So O'Shea, Pazzaglia, Antonio, Tommy Hickman, and Sabatini all get starts in this second leg. We kick off the league season in just three days against Middlesbrough.

We get a goal from Claudio Navarro in the 24th and then call off the dogs, treating this one as a glorified training session. We win 1-0, and we're on the the Euro Cup Playoff, and are just two games from the main draw.

The day after the match we learn our next opponent: Cypress club Omonoia. Needless to say, I feel good about advancing to Group Stage.

We also get the final piece of our squad for the coming year, as we secure a loan for 20-year-old Everton striker Steve McGreal.

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Hey Justin, yeah he looks like he may contribute. I should have added a purchase clause like we had with Meneses last year, but I forgot. This guy has seen literally no action with Everton, which is why I didn't post his stats page. But it's also nice that I don't have to register him. Our own home-grown young talent is really thin, so getting an Under 21 this late in the summer was nice.

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Posted (edited)

August 10, 2031 - Premier League: Middlesbrough vs. Leicester

Middlesbrough finished 12th last year with just 46 points, but they had our number. We drew twice with them in the EPL, and they knocked us out of the FA Cup, so we went 0-1-2 against them. This is the perfect example of a team that we should get more points from this year to push us toward my goal of bumping from 62 to 66 points. I'm targeting three teams to make up those points. We went 0-3-3 against Middlesbrough (two draws), Bournemouth (two losses - grrrrr) and Wolves (draw and loss) last year. If we simply go 3-0-3 against them instead, and just do everything we did last year with the other 16 teams, we're there. Obviously counting wins and losses before the season even starts is a fool's errand, but I can't help it.

Anyway, Burton is technically back for this one, but I'm going to wait until our first leg against Omonoia to give him a start and get his legs back. I want three points from this match, so a match-fit Navarro teams with Wilding in the front. Everyone else is healthy and ready to go. We're a Sunday match this week so we get an extra day of rest.

I think we've got a quality campaign ahead of us, so let's start Year 2 of my Premier League career!

Things get off to a rocky start for us as Middlesbrough scores just seven minutes in. We are completely frustrated for the next 83 minutes, and the game remains 1-0. But in the 92nd, we catch a break as Lee Wilding is fouled for a penalty kick. Michael Platt steps up... and it's saved. Oh man. We lose, 1-0. That... was not a good first performance.

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Edited by trman73

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Posted (edited)

August 16, 2031 - Premier League: Leicester (0-0-1, 0 pts., 16th) vs. Newcastle (1-0-0, 3 pts., 8th)

Newcastle beat newly-promoted West Brom, 1-0, in its opener. This team finished just three points back of us last year, and we need a far better performance in our home opener than we had at Middlesbrough. Obviously starting with two losses would cause some real concern.

We rebound nicely in this one. We get goals from Meneses and Wilding within a minute in the 16th and 17th, and are up 2-0 at the half. That's all we get, and that's all we need, as we collect a tidy 2-0 victory for our first win of the year. Now it's on to the Euro Cup playoff first leg.

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Edited by trman73

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August 21, 2031 - Euro Cup Playoff, First Leg: Omonoia vs. Leicester

It's my first trip to Cypress, and despite playing a little-known team we certainly can't take them lightly. Still, I feel comfortable playing some backups here, and we will also get Les Burton his first start of the year. I anticipate some away goals and for us to put ourselves in a position where we can coast in the home leg next week.

Maybe I didn't take this seriously enough. We actually play to a scoreless first half despite dominating possession. Things turn from distressing to catastrophic in the 63rd, when they get a breakaway and score to take the lead. We lose the match, 1-0, and far from having a walkthrough in the second leg, we'll now have to give these guys our absolute best effort.

It has not been the start to this season that I anticipated, or hoped for.

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August 24, 2031 - Premier League: Fulham (0-1-1, 1 pt., 12th) vs. Leicester (1-0-1, 3 pts., 10th)

Well, we can't afford another road loss here. Fulham fell to Liverpool in its opener then drew with a West Brom team predicted to fall back to the Championship next year, so they're hardly a team that should threaten us. But we're not playing well, and we've also got the second leg of the Euro Cup in just four days. So these guys get the starting 11, and then we'll see who's fit for the midweek match.

It doesn't take long to grab the lead in this one, as Nikola Andric gets the first of what I hope are many assists by setting up Lee Wilding for a nice goal in the third minute. We take the 1-0 lead into the second half, and then Les Burton explodes with three goals - one two minutes into the half, another in the 57th, and a final in the 80th to make it 4-0. Fulham gets one late to ruin the shutout, but this one is our from beginning to end. The win moves us up to 8th, and we need to continue to score goals in the second leg against Omonoia in four days.

59951e009d882_ScreenShot2017-08-16at11_39_18PM.thumb.png.45402ff104aed78ef6c1bc6cfa45851c.png 

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Five of our players are named in the Team of the Week - Andric, Christy Smyth, van Eijden, Wilding, and Burton. Not a bad week.

Also prior to the Euro Cup match, the draw for the EFL Cup Third Round is held. It's not a kind one, as we wind up with a home match against Arsenal, who beat us handily twice last season.

August 28, 2031 - Euro Cup Playoff, Second Leg: Leicester vs. Omonoia (Omonoia leads, 1-0)

Hopefully tomorrow we'll be involved in another draw - for the Euro Cup Group Stage. I'm still pretty confident this will work out for us, although I can't say I'm too happy to have to play the full first team.

We pull even in the 11th minute, as a long pass from Walter Morales finds Wilding, and he waltzes in and scores. It remains 1-0 at the half. In the second half, we have chance after chance, but we either don't take advantage or their keeper makes a quality save. As we hit the final 10 minutes, it certainly looks like extra time or PKs will resolve this. But finally, in the 84th, a cross from van Eijden finds Wilding, who puts it past an out-of-position keeper, and we grab our first lead at 2-1. We're not out of the woods yet, and Omonoia gets one last chance on a free kick from just outside the box in stoppage time, but it sails over the net, and that's it. It's a lot tougher than we thought, but we're on to the group stage!

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Posted (edited)

August 29, 2031 - Euro Cup Group Stage Draw

I've won the last three European club competitions I've been in: the 2022 Euro Cup with Roma, and the 2029 and 2030 Champions Cups with Juventus. We're going to have to play a lot better than we did in the qualifying rounds to lift another trophy this year, and I'd say right now that it's a long shot, but our next step is finding out who we'll face in the group stage. We're a third seed, so we're going to face at least one high-quality team, and possibly two. Let's see.

I'll go in reverse order this time. We're drawn into Group I, and the first team we'll see is... Dnipro, the third-best team in the Ukrainian League.

We also get... SK Rapid Wien, the second-best team in Austria.

Finally, the top group in the draw is... BMG, the Bundesliga side that won this competition two years ago.

Looking at some of the other groups, this is actually a pretty tough draw. We'll visit Ukraine first, then home for BMG, at Rapid Wien, then back home against them, home against Dnipro, then we close out group stage in Germany.

Edited by trman73

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August 31, 2031 - Premier League: Leicester (2-0-1, 6 pts., 8th) vs. West Bromwich Albion (0-1-2, 1 pt., 15th)

Somehow West Brom's one point in three matches doesn't have them in the bottom three. That's because Bournemouth, Bolton, and shockingly, Everton, each have yet to secure a point. I thought Everton would be competition for us in our quest to finish top six. Maybe not.

Either way, we should pick up our third straight win here, then we get to stay home for our next match against a Liverpool team off to a great start. This is the last time in a while that we'll get a full week off after a match, as both the EFL Cup and Euro Cup group stage kick off here in the next couple weeks.

This is a frustrating one. West Brom gets no shots on goal, but we only manage four, and we don't put any of them past their keeper. We leave two points out there today by drawing, 0-0.

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I actually make one small move at the transfer deadline, bringing in a 23-year-old keeper from Man City, Croatian Damir Komar. I'm just not sure I'm comfortable with a 19-year-old backup, and this guy has good potential. It's a small transfer fee, $425,000, and his signs for $1.5 million.

We lose on player to injury during international duty, as third-string attacking midfielder Gary Smyth is out 5-7 weeks. I panic for a moment when I see the note "Smyth injured," thinking it's our keeper Christy Smyth. Sorry Gary, but I'm glad it's you.

September 13, 2031 - Premier League: Leicester (2-1-1, 7 pts., 6th) vs. Liverpool (4-0-0, 12 pts., 2nd)

Liverpool has started 4-0-0, but they haven't played anyone of quality. This will easily be their toughest match to date. But it will be ours as well. Collectively our two teams have allowed just three goals in our eight total matches, so we may be looking at another 0-0 draw here. But I have a feeling, just a feeling, that we're going to win this game.

For a good long while it looks like we will see another scoreless draw. But in the 69th, we get a corner that bounces off a defender and right to Michael Platt, who scores from 30 yards out to give us the 1-0 lead! In the 84th, Meert leads Claudio Navarro with a great pass and the sub scores to put this one away. It's a 2-0 win and our best overall performance of the young season.

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September 18, 2031 - Euro Cup, Group I: Dnipro vs. Leicester

Dnipro is the weakest team in the group, but it's still a road match and we need it to establish ourselves in Group I. We lose Jean-Paul Meert for a couple weeks with a training injury, so my former man Mark O'Shea will see some starts. Other than that we're healthy in terms of the first team.

We establish control early as Michael Platt scores in the 4th and Wilding adds another in the 17th. Dnipro tallies one on a free kick in the 22nd and we're up 2-1 at the half. Burton scores just a minute into the second half to give us the two-goal cushion back, Platt adds his second goal late, and that's plenty, as we win, 4-1. Great start to group stage, and our second match against BMG will be a big one.

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September 21, 2031 - Premier League: Southampton (1-2-2, 5 pts., 15th) vs. Leicester (3-1-1, 10 pts., 4th)

We've got Southampton and Bolton in our next two league matches before taking on Man City and Arsenal, so if we can get wins in these next two matches we'll put ourselves in good position heading into those tough ones. We haven't dropped a league game since the opener, and we're playing well right now. So let's take care of business against these guys and see if we can move further up the table.

It's an exciting first half as Southampton scores in the 20th on a goal that Smyth should have saved. But we pull back even on a goal from Burton four minutes later. Southampton retakes the lead in the 34th, but Burton ties it again before halftime and it's 2-2 at the break. In the second half, we get our first lead as Platt threads the needle between two defenders to find Wilding, who scores to put us up 3-2, but Southampton ties it two minutes later, in the 58th. We've given up more goals in this match than in our five previous league games.

In the 69th Southampton takes the lead back on another mistake by us, and this one is getting crazy. This time, though, we don't pull back even... they score again just 90 seconds later to make it 5-3, and we're staring at a bad loss now. Our humiliation is completed in the 78th, as Meneses is called for a penalty that's converted. Normally after a win streak is stopped I tell the team they were unlucky. This time, I rip their effort.

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Posted (edited)

September 24, 2031 - EFL Cup, Third Round: Leicester vs. Arsenal

We had a great run to the semifinals of this cup last year, but frankly, with the Euro Cup now adding at the very least eight (and hopefully many more) matches to our schedule, I've just got to start a number of subs in this game. So Sabatini, Pazzaglia, Navarro, Antonio, O'Shea, and Tommy Hickman all get the nod today. United and City each lose their opening matches, so the field clears a little, but I don't have much hope for a repeat of our performance from last year, and I'd be surprised if we advance past this match. And I'm okay with that. But maybe Arsenal is treating the game the same way we are.

Arsenal comes out and absolutely dominates us in the first half, scoring twice, then adding another early in the second, and our defense certainly has gotten leaky here in the last couple matches. But we don't go down without a fight, as Steve McGreal scores his first for us in the 77th, then Platt adds one after a rebound off a McReal miss and it's 3-2 with five minutes left for us to make a final charge. But we don't do it, and we fall, 3-2. We're out of the competition that we advanced to the final four of a year ago.

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Edited by trman73

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September 27, 2031 - Premier League: Leicester (3-1-2, 10 pts., 7th) vs. Bolton (1-0-5, 3 pts., 19th)

We've lost two straight and have given up nine goals in doing so. But Bolton is really struggling in its first year back in the EPL. They haven't scored a goal in their last three matches, so it's struggling offense against struggling defense in this one. We need to get back on track here, as we've still yet to play any of the six clubs that finished ahead of us a year ago. We start the full team even with BMG coming up midweek.

We get back on track in a big way in the first half, and it comes courtesy of the guy who is quickly becoming our best player, Michael Platt. He kicks off the scoring in the 21st on a pass from Andric. Bolton ties it in the 28th with a goal from my former man, Bill Armson, but then we get goals from Burton and a second from Platt, and it's 3-1 at the half. 

We hang on and win, 3-1, but we get some horrific news following the match. Lee Wilding, injured in the second half, is diagnosed with a torn Achilles tendon, and is out 4-5 months. I'm glad I added McGreal as a last-minute acquisition, because he and Navarro are going to need to fill the void left by Wilding, who scored 13 goals for us a year ago.

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The monthly EPL Awards come out for September, and Michael Platt finishes third for Player of the Month. His long-range goal that helped seal our Liverpool win is voted the Goal of the Month. He's also, along with Les Burton and Walter Morales, names to the Team of the Week.

October 2, 2031 - Euro Cup, Group I: Leicester (1-0-0, 3 pts., 2nd) vs. BMG (1-0-0, 3 pts., 1st)

BMG equaled our result against Dnipro by beating Rapid Wien 4-1 in its Euro Cup opener. This is a big one, as the winner here has a very clear path to the knockout stages. We're without Wilding, but I trust Claudio Navarro to get the job done in his absence. Jean-Paul Meert is back for this match, but he's not fully fit so he'll be a reserve.

For the second straight game we come out on fire, as Burton scores twice in the first ten minutes (one on a fantastic free kick) and we take a 2-0 lead into halftime. Claudio Navarro rebounds a Platt shot and slams it home early in the second to make it 3-0, and we appear to be in complete control of this match and this group. BMG gets a softie past Smyth in the 61st, but they get no closer and it's a big 3-1 win that puts us in the driver's seat of Group I.

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October 5, 2031 - Premier League: Manchester City (4-1-2, 13 pts., 6th) vs. Leicester (4-1-2, 13 pts., 5th)

The three-time defending champs are struggling a bit, and have the same record as we do. It says something about each team's expectations that I'm pretty happy with where we are, and Paulo Fonseca absolutely cannot be. City is already six points back of Chelsea, and while there's plenty of time for them to catch up, they have just one point from their last two league matches, including a 3-1 loss to West Brom in their last game.

We've scored 16 goals in our last six games overall and eight in our last three EPL matches. So we've got a puncher's chance here against a team we drew with and lost to a year ago.

Oh man... the day before this match, on the eve of his return to the lineup, Jean-Paul Meert becomes our second player to go down with a long-term injury as he's diagnosed with knee tendonitis and is on the shelf for 3-4 months. Wow. These are two big injuries. Sabatini is also nicked up, so Mark O'Shea re-enters the starting lineup for this one.

We are thoroughly dominated from beginning to end in this match. It's 3-0, but it might as well have been 7-0. There's still a pretty big gap between us and the top teams in the league. This match exposed that gap, and it's disheartening. We are not a top team in the EPL... yet.

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trman73   
Posted (edited)

October 18, 2031 - Premier League: Leicester (4-1-3, 13 pts., 8th) vs. Arsenal (5-1-2, 16 pts., 2nd)

We get a much-needed two-week rest for international break, but are still without a number of key guys, and Cesar Meneses is suspended for this one as well. I really want this match against an Arsenal team that we would tie with a victory. But our defense has just been poor recently, and I'm not hopeful of a win. Maybe a draw.

Holy cow... everything we didn't do in the last game we did in the first half of this one. After a scoreless first 38 minutes, we get a goal from Navarro in the 38th, then one from Burton on a free kick right before the half. We have got to hold on in this one and get these three huge points.

Arsenal gets one back in the 75th and it's time to show if we're going to fold up or see this out. We see it out, as Burton scores on another free kick just a minute later. Platt adds the capper, and we win, 4-1. That's a huge victory for us coming off of a terrible game against City, and we shoot back up the table as the quarter point comes up.

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Edited by trman73

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Posted (edited)

October 23, 2031 - Euro Cup, Group I: SK Rapid Wien (1-0-1, 3 pts., 3rd) vs. Leicester (2-0-0, 6 pts., 1st)

A road win here and I'm pretty comfortable that we'll be in the knockout stages of Euro Cup. We'll still have home matches with the two weaker clubs in the group. We've got to get this one or else, assuming BMG beats Dnipro, there will be a three-way tie atop the group.

In the 23rd Navarro makes a great run down the left sideline and crosses a pass that finds Burton for a beautiful goal, and we're up 1-0. We get a second right before halftime, as Andric hits Meneses for a pass in the box and we're up 2-0 at the break. Things are fine until the 69th, when Rapid Wien puts one in to make it 2-1, but we're still doing fine. Then, in the 85th, a fluke clearance bounces off one of our guys and right to a Rpid Wien player, who nails one from beyond the box to tie it. We have a couple of chances in the final moments, but they hold firm, and we settle for a disappointing 2-2 draw. Halfway through group stage we lead with seven points, BMG has six, Rapid Wien four, and Dnipro has nothing.

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Edited by trman73

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October 26, 2031 - Premier League: West Ham (4-2-3, 14 pts., 9th) vs. Leicester (5-1-3, 16 pts., 7th)

This is one of the teams that we'll be competing with all year for one of those continental spots. West Ham reached the final of Euro Cup last year but had a down year in the league, finishing 10th. If we can get a road win in this one, that would be enormous. We're the last game of the week, so prior to kickoff we know that with a win, we can move as high as fourth, and that a loss could bump as as far back as ninth. A draw puts us in fifth.

It's a frustrating first half as we completely dominate but can't score. We get possession, pass it around in their zone, then have an errant pass or a poor shot and give up the ball. West Ham can't clear it, we get the ball back, and the whole process starts over again. The Hammers, meanwhile, look like a youth team out there, struggling to hang on. In the second half it's more of the same and I see a result where they get one opportunity, score, and win it despite us completely controlling the match. And in the 67th, that happens, as they get a corner and score on it to go up 1-0. Finally, in the 83rd, Andric hits Steve McGreal for the tying goal, and at least we're going to get a point out of this.

A minute later, West Ham scores again, and they win, 2-1.

What an incredible frustrating defeat. Ten games into the season, and we're 5-1-4, good for 8th in the league.

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trman73   

A quarter of the way through the season, and I truly don't know what to make of our team. Here's how the EPL looks...

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We are an incredibly inconsistent group right now. We've got dominating wins over Arsenal and Liverpool, and incredibly maddening losses to Middlesbrough, Southampton, and West Ham. We've traded wins and losses in our last six league matches. And it's been our defense that's let us down, which surprises me since it was what got us to 7th a year ago. Offensively we're on pace to score 20 more goals than we did a year ago, but we're also on pace to allow 60 goals after conceding 42 last year. And we've still yet to play Chelsea, the best scoring team in the league. On the plus side, of the seven teams ahead of us, we've already played six in the first half. Also, Les Burton is having a sensational season thus far, second in goals and in rating. But man, we've got to tighten up defensively if we want to get a consistent streak of results going.

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November 3, 2031 - Premier League: Leicester (5-1-4, 16 pts., 8th) vs. Huddersfield (4-1-5, 13 pts., 12th)

We should continue flip-flopping wins and losses with a win against this Huddersfield group. We've got Euro Cup midweek then head to Stamford Bridge to face first-place Chelsea next weekend, so we need to get three points here or risk plummeting down the table. We're just 1-1-2 in our last four overall, but I'm confident of picking up a victory here. This is a Monday match, so once again we know what a win will do - it will bump us up to 6th.

It's a first half much like the West Ham match and it looks like the result will be the same, a scoreless half, but in the 40th a shot from Sabatini outside the box bounces off a defender and in for an own goal, and we're up 1-0. The game plods along and we're looking at a 1-0 win... until the 89th minute, when Huddersfield gets a cross into the box that finds its man, and they tie it 1-1. That's how it ends, and it's another maddening result for us. We are not in a good place right now, and we need to get it together for the Euro Cup match in a few days.

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john1   

Very frustrating to see you beating teams like Arsenal and Liverpool but lose to West Ham and Middlesborough :( I am sure you will fix it soon! :D 

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November 6, 2031 - Euro Cup, Group I: Leicester (2-1-0, 7 pts., 1st) vs. SK Rapid Wien (1-1-1, 4 pts., 3rd)

We need to put our EPL struggles behind us and go ahead and clinch our spot in the knockout rounds with a win today. Technically we can do that as the tiebreaker is head-to-head, and we'd shut both Dnipro and Rapid Wien out of catching us with a victory. Despite the importance of this one I desperately need to rest some guys, so van Eijden, Austin, Navarro, and Andric all get the match off. 

We get a quick one in the second minute as McGreal, on for Navarro, hits Burton with a pass and he runs down their half of the field alone and puts it in easily to make it 1-0. McGreal gets one of his own just a minute later, and three minutes in we're up 2-0. We blew a 2-0 lead to these guys just two weeks ago, so we need to be vigilant here. We get two more in the first half - another from McGreal and one from Platt, and lead at the break 4-0.

SKRW gets one in the second half, but this one was over 30 minutes in. We get two goals and two assists from McGreal, and we are officially on to the knockout stages of the Euro Cup!

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trman73   

John this is a maddening run. It seems like, looking at the history of the EPL in this save, the teams that qualify for Euro Cup, meaning the mid-level teams, struggle that next year. My guess is it's the additional matches that they have to play without the depth that the bigger clubs have to bring in high-end subs to start some matches and rest other guys. I know when I was with Juventus I had no concerns at all about using a sub here and there in the starting lineup. But there's a dropoff here. I know I said I was pleased with our depth at the beginning of this year, but there's a big difference in the depth of a $200 million team and that of a $100 million team, which is what we are.

Anyway, I'm hoping to go on a bit of a run here in the league. And things aren't that bad - we're still in the top half.

HOWEVER...

November 9, 2031 - Premier League: Chelsea (9-1-1, 28 pts., 1st) vs. Leicester (5-2-4, 17 pts., 9th)

I'll just say it - it's going to take a miracle for us to win this match. Chelsea is just a juggernaut here in the early going, and they lead the league over resurgent City by three points and everyone else by at least eight. They are also undefeated in their Champions League group, which includes Real Madrid and Dortmund. They have scored 31 goals in 11 EPL matches and may top 100 goals for the season. Victor Bounou, who scored 34 goals a year ago, is on that same pace this year.

So... this one will be a handful. The international break comes up after this match (and the final European Championship Qualifying matches), so it would be incredible to head to the break getting a point against this club, but I am not optimistic at all. I'm starting Steve McGreal in this one as he's earned it with his recent play. He teams with Burton, and Navarro sits.

We hold our own for the first 30 minutes of the match, and then Michael Platt finds Steve McGreal for an excellent goal in front of their keeper and we're up 1-0! We hold the lead for all of five minutes before Chelsea equalizes, and it's 1-1 at the half. The second half sees both teams have some quality chances, and Smyth makes two great saves for us to keep it tied. The final seconds tick off, and we become just the third team this season to take a point from Chelsea, and we do it at Stamford Bridge to boot. A quality draw for us and we lose no ground in the table.

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November 23, 2031 - Premier League: Leicester (5-3-4, 18 pts., 9th) vs. Wolves (4-3-5, 15 pts., 12th)

Wolves are a perfect example of what I was talking about before - they've really dipped since last year's great run, although like us, they have also advanced in their Euro Cup group. Our Euro Cup match this midweek is a home game against Dnipro, so Wolves gets the full team today and subs will play against the hapless Ukrainians. With a loss and two draws in our last three league games, we need to get back on track.

No one scores until right before the end of the first half, when in the 45th Michael Platt gives us the lead. But we can't see it through to the locker room, as Wolves score in stoppage time to tie it. The second half is all theirs, as they score in the 56th and then top it off in extra time to win, 3-1. That's no wins in our last four league matches, and this one's getting away from us.

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fridge73   

Your team seems unbalanced training-wise. Not sure how you go about the training part, wheter it is hands on or let your assistsant manager earn his bacon. I always am hands on with training and plan the training 2-3 weeks in advance depending on schedule nd who i am up against. 

For instance, coming up against a weaker team at home I would set that week in training for attacking, quite opposite if i then went to Stamford Bridge the week after against a red-hot Chelsea I would set up defence or tactical training for that week. When we had an extra break (international break or no cup action), I did other training to balance off the schedule.

I noticed after 5-6 months that the overall feel about the squad was different than if I let my assistant take care of training. The good thing about the desktop version is that you can set up your training schedule way in advance so you wont forget and alter it at any point. 

Just a penny.......

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trman73   

Thanks fridge, that's great feedback.

What's worked for me in recent years is basically switching off weeks from "Balanced" to "Defending" with average intensity levels all the time (except for the beginning of the season, when I focus the first week on fitness, the second week on tactical, and then start my regular balanced-defending rotation). For individuals, at the beginning of the season I do go through each player, make sure they are set to the position I want them in for the season, and then I do a quick (possibly too quick) check on the first of each month to make sure my starters are progressing okay and aren't complaining. About a quarter of the way through the year I switch their focus if they've started to master the skill I want them to improve.

Something is not working, so prior to this next match I am checking all players for their individual training, and I'm also focusing this week on Team Cohesion.

Thanks for the good ideas.

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November 27, 2031 - Euro Cup, Group I: Leicester (3-1-0, 10 pts., 1st) vs. Dnipro (0-0-4, 0 pts., 4th)

We may not be playing well in the league, but we're rolling through our group in this competition, and we're set up for a match in Germany against BMG to close out this phase and determine the winner of the group. A whole bunch of subs start this game as I've got guys starting to whine about playing time. Samir Dali even gets his first start in the midfield for us.

No problems in this one, as we outshoot Dnipro 11-0, get goals from Andric in the first half and an own goal in the second, and win, 2-0. Dnipro has a man sent off two minutes in to make things easier for us, then they get a second man dismissed in the 61st. I was hoping somehow BMG would lose to make the final group match worthless, but they win, and we've got 13 points to their 12.

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November 30, 2031 - Premier League: Reading (4-4-5, 16 pts., 13th) vs. Leicester (5-3-5, 18 pts., 10th)

I need to remember amidst our poor run in the league that we are playing without two key player - Lee Wilding is still out for two more months, and Jean-Paul Meert is gone another 5-8 weeks. Still, we're losing to teams we should be beating, and now we've got a Reading team that falls into that same category. We desperately need to get back in the win column as there are a whole bunch of teams bunched up mid-table, with just six points separating 5th from 14th. So the door is still open and there's a ton of football left to be played. But we can't extend this bad stretch; it must end today.

In league news, Everton fires its coach as they are struggling in 17th. No need to apply for this one as right now I see only two clubs to leave Leicester for: Liverpool, which for some reason I still consider a prime job, and West Ham.

We putz around in the first half of this one, content to play to a scoreless draw, which we don't, because Reading scores off a cross in the 45th minute. We're down 1-0 at the break, and I tear into the team. They respond by giving up a second goal in the 66th. We get a goal from McGreal in the 75th to pull to within 2-1, but then a poor play by Alaoui in our end leads directly to a goal for Reading in the 85th, and it's over. We lose, 3-1, and we're in free fall in the EPL.

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December 6, 2031 - Premier League: Leicester (5-3-6, 18 pts., 11th) vs. Stoke (3-6-5, 15 pts., 16th)

I've got nothing to say in advance of this game other than we have to win it. Let's go.

It's a 0-0 draw, which I suppose is an improvement over how we've been playing. Mark O'Shea is now out with knee ligament damage and will miss 4-5 weeks.

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December 11, 2031 - Euro Cup, Group I: BMG (4-0-1, 12 pts., 2nd) vs. Leicester (4-1-0, 13 pts., 1st)

Well we win the group with a victory or a draw and have a better chance of getting an easier opponent in the first knockout round. I'm starting a couple subs for this one as I need my team rested and ready to lose or draw our next league match.

BMG takes the lead in the 27th, but two minutes later we tie it up on a wicked shot by Burton, and we're back in first. BMG scores right before the half to make it 2-1, but McGreal ties it just 38 seconds into the second half, and this is an exciting match that's knotted at 2-2. This is one draw we'll gladly take, but we don't have to, as BMG has a man sent off late, then van Eijden finds Burton with a great pass in the 89th, and he scores the game winner. We beat BMG twice, finish 5-1-0 in the group, and will be one of the seeded teams in the first knockout round draw tomorrow.

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December 14, 2031 - Premier League: Bournemouth (5-1-9, 16 pts., 17th) vs. (Leicester (5-4-6, 19 pts., 13th)

As you can see, going 0-3-3 in our last six has dropped us to 13th, and with a loss here we'll fall even further. Still though, we're just a good run of 3-4 games away from being right back in continental qualification territory, so I am trying to remain optimistic. I'm giving young midfielder Samir Dali his first EPL start, as he's been excellent in both of his Euro Cup starts. Following this one we've got three straight home EPL matches, so we have a chance to climb back up the ladder, starting now. Prior to our match, Fulham becomes the fourth EPL team to fire its coach in the past month, joining Everton, Southampton, and Stoke. Life is brutal for coaches in this league.

It's our second straight goal-scoring bonanza, as Bournemouth takes an early lead, then Burton ties it, then McGreal gives us the 2-1 lead, then Bournemouth ties it back up and it's 2-2 at the break. And once again it looks like we'll settle for a draw until we get one late. This time it's Burton scoring on yet another free kick, which bounces off the wall of defenders and in! We need to hold on for these last 10 minutes or so. Three minutes after Burton's second goal, McGreal adds his second, and it looks like our long winless streak is over. Burton gets two goals and two assists, and we win, 4-2.

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December 15, 2031 - Euro Cup First Knockout Stage Draw

I should note that we drew Championship side Derby, relegated from the EPL a year ago, for a home match in the third round of the FA Cup. But the big draw of the week is this one. Obviously there are 32 teams in this thing so there are some good squads (Roma, Dortmund, Barcelona) and some teams I'd love to draw (Rosenburg, Maccabi Tel Aviv, PAOK). We only have to wait a little bit o find out who we'll play, and its... PAOK. The Greek club is a perennial also-ran in this competition, rarely getting out of group stage. I'll take this without question. We should meet board expectations and reach the final 16.

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Posted (edited)

December 17, 2031 - Premier League: Leicester (6-4-6, 22 pts., 11th) vs. Everton (5-2-9, 17 pts., 15th)

We finish the first half of the season with home matches against Everton (15th), Middlesbrough (8th) and Spurs (7th). So with three good performances we can actually wind up in a decent position heading into the second half. We'll have to play this match without Steve McGreal, and Everton loaner, so I'm actually going to give John Jones his first start, as Navarro is really in a goal  slump and we desperately need to get a second straight win.

We struggle offensively in this one and get absolutely nothing from Jones (1st half) and Navarro (2nd half) at forward. But we play well defensively and settle for the 0-0 draw. That's now four straight without a loss, which is something I suppose. The draw actually moves us up two spots, to 9th.

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Edited by trman73

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December 20, 2031 - Premier League: Leicester (6-5-6, 23 pts., 9th) vs. Middlesbrough (7-4-6, 25 pts., 8th)

We get the two teams right ahead of us in the standings to close out the first half, so we can wind up in 7th if we beat both of them. I'd like to avenge our season-opening loss to these guys. We get McGreal back for this one, and we need him, as he's become a valuable contributor and clearly our best option with Wilding still on the shelf. He's got nine goals for us in all competitions thus far, including five in 10 EPL matches. We've got five matches here in the next 14 days as we grind through that tough holiday Premier League run.

Prior to this match I sign Michael Platt to an extension that will keep him with us through 2036. He's become a key player for us and is my best signing as Leicester City boss.

Burton gets us on the board early with yet another free-kick goal in the 11th, and Sabatini gets a rare one in the 20th to put us up 2-0. Middlesbrough scores before the half ends and it's 2-1 at the break, but we're playing well and we continue to pressure their defense in the second half until Burton gets his second in the 68th. Andric closes the scoring with a nice goal in the 90th, and it's our best overall performance in weeks, and a 4-1 win that moves us up to 8th.

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trman73   
Posted (edited)

December 26, 2031 - Premier League: Leicester (7-5-6, 26 pts., 8th) vs. Tottenham (7-4-6, 25 pts., 8th)

Prior to this match my assistant coach, Nathan Cameron, is poached by Everton to work on their new staff under Paul Dalglish. I hire Chris Hogg to take his place.

Once again we play the team right ahead of us, and it's official that if we win this match we'll be through the first half in 7th position, and possibly 6th if West Ham loses its match. Spurs aren't as good as their record and have just a +2 differential. I think we can win here, which would extend our unbeaten streak to five in the league and six overall.

Tottenham scores early with a goal in the 16th, and then they go into lockdown, stifling us throughout the rest of the first half and deep into the second. They make a mistake in the 78th, though, and we capitalize with a goal from Mohamed Alaoui. We get aggressive after that but can't get the winner, and we settle for the 1-1 draw.

We finish the first half of the season 7-6-6, good for 27 points and good for 9th in the league and just two points out of 7th. Not what I had hoped for, but we're playing pretty well right now.

We get United and Newcastle on the road to start the second half.

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Edited by trman73

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Just caught up been a bit scare on here lately.

Great first season there chief. You are seeming very inconsistent this season though, maybe just 2nd season syndrome? My Aberdeen boys seemed to struggle in the second year and I was ripping my hair out trying to use different tactics and all sorts fearing that teams had figured me out but towards the end of the season it seemed to settle down and the boys found their groove again.

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trman73   

Leicester City 2031-2032 Mid-Season Report

Halfway through the season, here's the Premier League table, as well as our team stats...

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There are lot of teams bunched up mid-table. That rough stretch where we went 0-3-3 really put dent in our prospects. But we've rebounded a bit and are just five points from 5th, although we're also just three points clear of 13th. Due to Euro Cup scheduling we haven't played a balanced schedule, and the team we've got to play twice in the second half is Manchester United, who dealt us two tough blows a year ago. To meet my prediction of 66 points, we'll need 39 in the second half, so 12-3-4 or so. That seems incredibly optimistic at this point, but it also looks like we won't need 66 points, or even last year's 62, to reach the Europa League again. At this point I will take 7th place and reset for 2032-2033. So for the first half of the league season, I am giving us a C+.

In Euro Cup, things were much better. We went 4-2-0 and were never really in any danger of not advancing. We were actually the second-highest-scoring team in the group stage with 18 goals (Valencia scored a whopping 24), and had a differential of +11. I feel like we've got to be heavily favored to beat PAOK and make it to the round of 16. So we get an A- for this competition thus far.

Finally, we flamed out of the EFL Cup in our first match, but we lost to an Arsenal team that's currently in the semis (along with defending champs Wolves, Chelsea, and Huddersfield). But given our quality run here last year, we earn a D here.

Overall we are 14-8-8 on the year. To me, given that I had hoped to really take off this year, that's a C+.

Our first-half MVP is F Les Burton. He's scored 19 goals across all competitions for us and has a 7.50 overall rating while playing in all but one of our games. Runners-up are F Steve McGreal, the Everton loaner, who has given us a lot in Mark Wildings absence, and AM Michael Platt.

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trman73   

Yeah metallimuse, it does seem like second-season syndrome is a thing in this game, or it has been for me in previous saves. We are 17th in the EPL in payroll, and I wish we had the funds to afford better backups. Those long-term injuries to Meert and Wilding, who will miss a bunch more games, really hurt us. I feel like I've done all the tinkering I can and am just riding this season out, not knowing how we'll perform from game to game. We could play a 0-0 game or a 4-3 game at any moment. Really inconsistent. Oh well.

With all this being said, I'm still digging coaching this team, although I am monitoring the Liverpool situation out of the corner of my eye, and their manager is not safe according to the job security page. West Ham is not going to come open since they are playing quite well this year.

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trman73   

December 28, 2031 - Premier League: Manchester United (11-1-7, 34 pts., 4th) vs. Leicester (7-6-6, 27 pts., 9th)

It's a two-horse race in the league right now as there's a lot of distance between Chelsea and City and the rest of the league. But I've gotten points from Chelsea and City in my tenure, while Man U beat us twice last season, scoring eight goals in the process and breaking our hearts each time with late tie-breaking goals.

We strike first in this one as Samir Dali hits McGreal right in front of the net for an easy one. United has come back on us in both our previous matches with them, but Burton makes it a bit tougher when he gets a cross from Morales and heads it in right before halftime for the 2-0 lead! In the second half, McGreal gets another in the 63rd, and we're rolling toward our best road win of the season. This is not the same United team we saw last season, and they mount little challenge, finishing with just one shot on goal. We win, 3-0, and it's a huge start to the second half of the season for us.

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trman73   

December 31, 2031 - Premier League: Newcastle (10-5-5, 35 pts., 4th) vs. Leicester (8-6-6, 30 pts., 8th)

It's New Year's Eve and we end 2031 with another tough one. Newcastle leapt over United into fourth thanks to our defeat of Man U at Old Tratford. And we're now just one point out of sixth after West Ham lost its last match. But our task in this one will not be made any easier by the loss of two more key players. Chris van Eijden is serving his first suspension of the season, and Michael Platt is out for three weeks after hurting his hamstring in the United match. Still, we're 3-3-0 in our last six EPL matches. A second straight quality road win would be big for us here, and honestly I'll take a draw against these guys with four starters out of the lineup.

We give up a goal 36 seconds into the match, another in the 22nd, and never recover. Our undefeated streak ends at seven matches overall, and we fall, 2-0. It would have been quite the feat to beat two top-five teams on the road back-to-back, but if I had to choose I would have picked the win over United, which is what we got.

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ManUtd1   

I know I've said it before, but I continue to admire the detail in this thread. Great stuff, man.

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trman73   

January 4, 2032 - FA Cup, Third Round: Leicester vs. Derby

Derby is one of our rivals, which gives this match an importance that frankly I don't want to place on it.

The big news prior to this match is the United fired its manager, Rui Vitoria. I'd like to think our drubbing of them had something to do with that. :thup:

Burton gets us going big-time with a goal on a free kick in the 17th and then a second one on a pass from McGreal five minutes later. Derby gets a PK just a few minutes later and converts it to make it 2-1, but then things settle down. We hold on for a 2-1 win, and we're on to the fourth round.

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trman73   

Thanks ManU... hopefully there will be some interesting new details in this story, because something may be happening. Stay tuned.

Following our FA Cup win the draw for the next round is held. We get another home match, this time against a top-division team. We'll play... Middlesbrough.

January 10, 2032 - Premier League: Leicester (8-6-7, 30 pts., 9th) vs. Fulham (3-3-15, 12 pts., 20th)

After back-to-back 16th place finishes, Fulham looks like it will play next season in the Championship. They are a full 10 points back of 17th place and are 1-1-11 in their last 13 matches. We should beat these guys handily and hopefully inch our way back up the table.

Burton misses an early penalty kick (we are terrible on penalties), but this one looks like it will be over early as Burton and McGreal each get goals in the first 20 minutes. We hold that 2--0 lead for most of the game until Fulham scores late. But McGreal gets his second goal right before the final whistle, and it's an expected 3-1 victory.

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