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FM19 Athletic Club - Aupa!

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Update from me - not played much lately hence I've been quiet on here.

Season 23/24 - we are 2nd in La Liga to Atletico on GD. Barcelona are 3pts behind us but I have to go to them soon and I have a dreadful record against them so not looking forward to that one. On the whole, happy with how the season is going but having a few injuries. Herrera got a dislocated shoulder; Muniain just got injured again after coming back from a different injury and now my top striker got injured for 4-5 weeks. Got a couple more too but players starting to come back.

Managed to sign Oyarzabal from Sociedad! They got relegated so I guess that made things a bit easier. His attribute spread is brilliant, his lowest value is 10 for positioning, 3 attributes at 11 and everything else is higher. Bought him with improving my RW position (even though he is an ML inverted winger naturally) as I don't have much depth there beyond Williams. However, he can play pretty much anywhere across midfield and does well as an AP out of central midfield so that is helpful since Roberto Torres retired and I moved on Vesga last season so we are a bit thin in CM supplemented by some youngsters.

Champions League has been a bit of a disaster this season. I don't usually do this but I ended up promising Unai Simon we'd get to the latter stages of the competition because I blocked a move for him to go to Real but now I might be resigned to losing him unless we can get out of a tough group. 

Opening game at home to Milan we drew 2-2. Then we went to Schalke and Arsenal losing 3-2 in both. We were especially unlucky at Arsenal where we led twice but in both of these games individual errors cost us including the concession of an injury time penalty at Arsenal. We then needed to beat Arsenal at home in the reverse fixture having only picked up 1 point but we drew 0-0 but could have been worse as Simon saved a penalty from Witsel (who scored the winner from the spot in the reverse fixture). After 4 games we sat bottom with 2 points with a trip to Milan up next...Oyarzabal scored a screamer and we defended brilliantly limiting their chances. We dominated possession and left with a priceless 1-0 win. Arsenal did us a favour and won 3-0 at Schalke so the group looks like this:

1477202846_Screenshot2019-07-18at14_43_01.thumb.png.e62fde64c6b3148843aefece392e484a.png

Still bottom but a home win against Schalke would mean Milan have to win away to Arsenal to qualify, although Arsenal have already won the group so may play a weakened team. If we draw and Milan lose we'll finish 3rd based on the head to heads with Schalke going through! So basically it's must win and hope Milan fail to win.

Wish me luck!

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6 hours ago, maccataq said:

Enjoyed reading your update. Some bold sales there but hopefully your youngsters can step up! Have you managed to win La Liga yet? Once you can get your strikers firing consistently you will see your results become more consistent.

Not yet. Have been to cup finals and one Europa League final but close but no cigar. Hopefully, the trophies come.

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16 hours ago, Jean0987654321 said:

Not yet. Have been to cup finals and one Europa League final but close but no cigar. Hopefully, the trophies come.

Yeah I've lost 2 cup finals and one super cup although I won a supercup also. Just a matter of time!

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On 18/07/2019 at 14:49, maccataq said:

Update from me - not played much lately hence I've been quiet on here.

Season 23/24 - we are 2nd in La Liga to Atletico on GD. Barcelona are 3pts behind us but I have to go to them soon and I have a dreadful record against them so not looking forward to that one. On the whole, happy with how the season is going but having a few injuries. Herrera got a dislocated shoulder; Muniain just got injured again after coming back from a different injury and now my top striker got injured for 4-5 weeks. Got a couple more too but players starting to come back.

Managed to sign Oyarzabal from Sociedad! They got relegated so I guess that made things a bit easier. His attribute spread is brilliant, his lowest value is 10 for positioning, 3 attributes at 11 and everything else is higher. Bought him with improving my RW position (even though he is an ML inverted winger naturally) as I don't have much depth there beyond Williams. However, he can play pretty much anywhere across midfield and does well as an AP out of central midfield so that is helpful since Roberto Torres retired and I moved on Vesga last season so we are a bit thin in CM supplemented by some youngsters.

Champions League has been a bit of a disaster this season. I don't usually do this but I ended up promising Unai Simon we'd get to the latter stages of the competition because I blocked a move for him to go to Real but now I might be resigned to losing him unless we can get out of a tough group. 

Opening game at home to Milan we drew 2-2. Then we went to Schalke and Arsenal losing 3-2 in both. We were especially unlucky at Arsenal where we led twice but in both of these games individual errors cost us including the concession of an injury time penalty at Arsenal. We then needed to beat Arsenal at home in the reverse fixture having only picked up 1 point but we drew 0-0 but could have been worse as Simon saved a penalty from Witsel (who scored the winner from the spot in the reverse fixture). After 4 games we sat bottom with 2 points with a trip to Milan up next...Oyarzabal scored a screamer and we defended brilliantly limiting their chances. We dominated possession and left with a priceless 1-0 win. Arsenal did us a favour and won 3-0 at Schalke so the group looks like this:

1477202846_Screenshot2019-07-18at14_43_01.thumb.png.e62fde64c6b3148843aefece392e484a.png

Still bottom but a home win against Schalke would mean Milan have to win away to Arsenal to qualify, although Arsenal have already won the group so may play a weakened team. If we draw and Milan lose we'll finish 3rd based on the head to heads with Schalke going through! So basically it's must win and hope Milan fail to win.

Wish me luck!

Well we just attacked Schalke and we thrashed them 5-0! Arsenal did me a favour and beat Milan 1-0 so we sneak through by winning our last 2 games. We face Juventus in the 2nd round and they topped a group including Barcelona so it's going to be tough!

165437172_Screenshot2019-07-21at13_16_49.thumb.png.d6bda07b5df8c316672e39550ff38628.png

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Is it just in my save or do Valencia seem to produce Basque newgens?

Ok there has only been 2 in my save that I know of - I have already bought one of them and now I just got asked about whether I was interested in signing a player and I looked at him and he was not on my shortlist (no idea how my scouts didn't find him first) and turned out he was Basque having come from the Valencia academy. Looks good too so getting him scouted.

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On 21/07/2019 at 21:59, maccataq said:

Is it just in my save or do Valencia seem to produce Basque newgens?

Ok there has only been 2 in my save that I know of - I have already bought one of them and now I just got asked about whether I was interested in signing a player and I looked at him and he was not on my shortlist (no idea how my scouts didn't find him first) and turned out he was Basque having come from the Valencia academy. Looks good too so getting him scouted.

Never seen Valencia with them, with Barca and Real produce them, which is annoying as they'll only sell them on huge release fees!

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@maccataq @dothestrand Valencia definitely produce them yeah, I've seen it on a few of my saves. Man City do as well because of their DoF. Espanyol have tended to produce a good Basque striker every 3-5 years in-game for the past 3 versions of FM for some reason.

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On 21/07/2019 at 22:59, maccataq said:

Is it just in my save or do Valencia seem to produce Basque newgens?

Ok there has only been 2 in my save that I know of - I have already bought one of them and now I just got asked about whether I was interested in signing a player and I looked at him and he was not on my shortlist (no idea how my scouts didn't find him first) and turned out he was Basque having come from the Valencia academy. Looks good too so getting him scouted.

Seems logical to me. IRL Athletic seems to find players that comply with the signing policy as far as Romania or South America. Has anyone ever had any regens in South America, come to think of it?

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, TOMetz said:

Seems logical to me. IRL Athletic seems to find players that comply with the signing policy as far as Romania or South America. Has anyone ever had any regens in South America, come to think of it?

Well, actually they don't go as far as Romania or South America, but rather Romanians and South Americans come to them.

That is to say that the IRL policy include anyone grown up football-wise in the greater Basque country area. Therefore, Iñaki Williams is eligible despite not having any Basque roots, while players like Otamendi or Higuaín are not even considered, regardless the fact that they clearly have Basque ancestors/origins. It is more a "cultural" nationality policy and not a biological one. Thanks God BTW as it would just be racism otherwise.

Actually there is a lot of uproar among the fans as they just signed a German grown player for the women's team, whose mother is from Vizcaya but who didn't grow up there, Bibiane Schulze.

In FM19 it would be difficult to replicate the policy and that is why you can actually sign any Spanish player until they're 16, to simulate someone "grown football-wise" in Basque country.

Edited by Pavi

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Just few words to say that I abandoned my old save long time ago as in the meantime I moved to another country and change job and only recently started played again. After having done a couple of saves over in Germany I just started yesterday a new save with Athletic. I think is a good save to restart in this weird period when the new season started. Will try to post some updates.

But mainly want to say kudos to this thread, just updated the last couple of months of posts. Well done everyone, some amazing progress there.

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I know other clubs can produce Basque players, it was just curious that Valencia produced a couple in relatively quick succession. I'm aware that their policy is somewhat nuanced and they won't buy players based on tenuous links. @Pavi - some good insights, I know some think of the policy as racist but I've never thought of it that way and indeed, I believe the policy was brought in because they were criticised for not exclusively selecting local players. The relaxation of the rule to include players who have had their footballing education in the Basque country has probably helped to dispel any ideas that the policy is racist.

Good luck with your new save Pavi - look forward to hearing how you get on!

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I'm still plodding along with my save. Keen to keep it going and just about to embark on season 24/25 but also considering switching to another save for a while.

Anyway, my last season brought about a record points tally again but still not good enough to win La Liga. Klopp's Barcelona are formidable in my save so winning the league again is going to be tough whilst he is around but slowly but surely my newgens are developing into the players that can take us to the next level.

Got to my 3rd Copa del Rey final (lost the first 2 vs Atletico & Barcelona respectively) and we faced Barcelona! We took the lead in the first half, could have had a 2nd but were pegged back in the 2nd half. Barcelona usually beat us and there have been a number of occasions when we have played well and they have been the ones to score the goal to break our hearts (especially last time we played the cup final) but not this time! Mikel Oyarzabal, injured in the run in only made the bench and I threw him on, telling him he could make the difference and he only went and thrashed one home from about 12 yards. I've never been so delighted to just win a domestic cup!

1263269750_Screenshot2019-08-05at00_05_11.thumb.png.2ef6d53df6649c30d486d1614bb4c2ca.png

328224466_Screenshot2019-08-04at13_53_18.thumb.png.0c7290786e48aa3a38085df8ecc69d27.png

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Posted (edited)
21 minutes ago, maccataq said:

I know other clubs can produce Basque players, it was just curious that Valencia produced a couple in relatively quick succession. I'm aware that their policy is somewhat nuanced and they won't buy players based on tenuous links. @Pavi - some good insights, I know some think of the policy as racist but I've never thought of it that way and indeed, I believe the policy was brought in because they were criticised for not exclusively selecting local players. The relaxation of the rule to include players who have had their footballing education in the Basque country has probably helped to dispel any ideas that the policy is racist.

Good luck with your new save Pavi - look forward to hearing how you get on!

@maccataq I must say that I've never for a second thought that you or anyone else here was classifying the policy as racist and I don't think it is neither. Perhaps, I expressed myself wrongly, my intervention was actually to defend the current policy of putting cultural and football ties ahead of any notion of "certified-origin". It is obvious that in FM, you cannot reflect this at 100%.

Sorry if I sounded polemic and keep up the good times with your save!

Edited by Pavi

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14 minutes ago, Pavi said:

@maccataq I must say that I've never for a second thought that you or anyone else here was classifying the policy as racist and I don't think it is neither. Perhaps, I expressed myself wrongly, my intervention was actually to defend the current policy of putting cultural and football ties ahead of any notion of "certified-origin". It is obvious that in FM, you cannot reflect this at 100%.

Sorry if I sounded polemic and keep up the good times with your save!

No, not at all, I wasn't suggesting you were, I was just adding to your point about it not being racist as I've heard people in the past try to label it as such.

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Posted (edited)

Well it was time to start a new Athletic Career in FM19 ;)

Next to my love for Athletic, I was sick of playing 4-1-2-3 with every single other team, while still getting results. A save with Athletic where I'd try out some new things combined with the strong focus on youth and development, should be more than enough entertainment until FM20 drops.

A couple games into the 18/19 season and we're looking pretty good. You'll notice I played a ton of pre season friendlies. This was necessary to try out some new formations and tactics which I've never used before. 

2loG1Mu.png dAl6kjQ.png

Although all of the pre season matches were won, I struggled to really dominate and create a constant flow of chances. Maybe because I changed too much too quickly, but nevertheless I stuck to the plan I had with this group of players and headed in the first match which immediately was the Vasco Derby. A solid second half saw us rise 2-0 and Real pulled one back in what was a very equal and entertaining match. Barcelona was next and here I managed to dominate the second half and score. They equalised on a penalty so we can be proud of our performance none the less. Had a good run after this and already we're far higher up the table than I anticipated due to the lack of thorough success in preseason. 

Depth Chart

GK: Unai Simon, Alex Remiro, Iago Herrerin (inj.)

RWB: Oscar De Marcos, Ander Capa

CB: Iñigo Martinez, Yeray, Unai Nuñez, Mikel San Jose, Peru Nolaskoain

LWB: Yuri, Mikel Balenziaga

BWM/CMd (or the static '6' position): Ander Iturraspe, Dani Garcia, Mikel San Jose (love the versatility and aerial capabilities of this guy), Peru Nolaskoain (I have a thing for him IRL and in FM)

DLP/APM/MEZ (or the more dynamic '8' position): Beñat, Raul Garcia, Oihan Sancet, Markel Susaeta (with him aging, he might be of use on the central midfield, but it's an experiment)

AMR: Iñaki Williams, Markel Susaeta (he's outstanding as a Raumdeuter), Ibai Gomez

AML: Iker Muniain, Ibai Gomez, Iñigo Córdoba

ST: Aritz Aduriz, Iñaki Williams, Iñigo Córdoba, Kenan Kodro, Gorka Guruzeta (occasional run-out)

Tactics

In my opinion, Athletic is very suited for playing with a back three with three CB's all worthy of a first team spot and solid backups. What's more, Yeray and especially Martinez are great as a Libero on attack, one of my favorite roles in FM19 if you manage to unleash it. Furthermore I was inspired by Pep's 3-4-3 at City, hence the IWB, but opted for a version with a different take on player movement. I tried a variation with two strikers instead of AML and AMR but the player potential is much more suited for wingplay, although it has evolved to @maccataq's 5-3-2 which is on page 6 I think. The third tactic is a 4-2-3-1, also for the reasons of highly suited player potential and in case of injuries or suspensions among the back three. 

But this is the main gig:

HeFCima.png

Starting from the back:

Martinez is a very suitable Libero on attack with a CD and BPD in cover next to him. He also fills in the 'tactical fouler' role in Pep's system, although in defence, the Libero will drop back a lot deeper to form a backline of three. In attack, he pushes up to right behind the central midfield two and, thanks to Iñigo's player traits, send long through balls to unlock the wings.

One of my fullbacks will always be an inverted wingback. In this case, it's De Marcos. In attack, he will sit in the gap left by Beñat (or whoever plays on the 8 spot). Even though Beñat is a DLP, one of his traits is 'Arrives late in opponents half'. Thanks to an IWB, we keep one guy extra in the engine room. The space left out wide is a risk I'm willing to take with fairly paced BPD Yeray who can clean up.

I fancy Yuri going up and over IF Muniain since he's got a powerful shot and often finds himself within range. 

Aduriz is a Target Man in support since it's one of the only roles that doesn't have 'move into channels' hard coded in them. If I allow him to, then he finds himself offside at least five times per game. If Williams plays up top, he plays as an AF although I'm thinking of changing it to a PF since his speed is a weapon while charging at defenders.

So a fair bit of movement in possession, mainly from the midfield on. The players seem to get the hang of it.

Transfers

Lekue, Rico and Lopez are on loan for the moment. 

I brought in Leo from Barcelona and Iker Losada from Celta De Vigo for the youth team. Although here I've read that it's a lot more purist to refrain from signing young Spanish players, so from now on I'll do that. It only increases the challenge :)

I'll be looking to sell Kodro and might TL Raul Garcia since he's such a strain on the wage budget and I don't really have a perfect place for him in my team. Maybe he'll perform well as a BBM on the '8' position. There's a lot of interest for Susaeta and Iturraspe as well. They can go for around 20 million a piece.

I'm keeping an eye on the development and situation of these players, hoping to reel some of them in. Some of them are realistic, others are options for the future or we'll need exceptional luck. The players in bold are targets for the January transfer window 18/19 if some players are sold. Aymeric Laporte, Alvaro Odriozola, Ander Herrera, Mikel Merino, Roberto López (At Sociedad C, probablity of 5 star potential this time!), Giorgian De Arrascaeta, Ruben Pardo, Jonathan Urretaviscaya, Igor Zubeldia, Jonathan Espericueta, Antonio Otegui. 

Edited by TOMetz

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@TOMetz

Nice to see you experimenting, I have just started a save myself and one of the tactic I was toying with is a 352. As for your retraining of Susaeta I used him mainly as an AP in the AMR slot (same as López) in a classic 433. But during my experimenting I have used Muniain as a Mezzala and put some nice performances.

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19 hours ago, TOMetz said:

I'm keeping an eye on the development and situation of these players, hoping to reel some of them in. Some of them are realistic, others are options for the future or we'll need exceptional luck. The players in bold are targets for the January transfer window 18/19 if some players are sold. Aymeric Laporte, Alvaro Odriozola, Ander Herrera, Mikel Merino, Roberto López (At Sociedad C, probablity of 5 star potential this time!), Giorgian De Arrascaeta, Ruben Pardo, Jonathan Urretaviscaya, Igor Zubeldia, Jonathan Espericueta, Antonio Otegui. 

@TOMetz Great to hear you've joined us and started a save. I'm about ten years into an Athletic Club save :rolleyes:

I would expect Merino (check the release fee, and he will go), Pardo (you might have to let him move to another club first) and Zubeldia to become available within the next season or so, which is great as your CM options reduce very quickly! 

I've had Odriozola sign from Real before. Herrera you should get if Man Utd list him, but they have this annoying habit of extending his contract for a year until he gets too old for you to sign.

Hopefully you get some good regens, or other Basque regens from Real Sociedad, Eibar, Osasuna, Alaves etc. coming through - usually 2-3 each season you can sign who'll have first team potential.

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Thanks for the advice @dothestrand, Merino has become a priority indeed as Beñat isn't performing as well as in my older Athletic saves and Raul Garcia is pulling a Bosman on me and will only leave on a free transfer at the end of the month. Iturraspe is filling in nicely but I wonder how much longer he will hold that level. 

The good news is that Sociedad are battling relegation almost midway through the season. Hopefully a lower morale in Merino could see him switch to the other Basque side which is currently shuttling between 3rd and 4th spot :D

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11 minutes ago, TOMetz said:

Thanks for the advice @dothestrand, Merino has become a priority indeed as Beñat isn't performing as well as in my older Athletic saves and Raul Garcia is pulling a Bosman on me and will only leave on a free transfer at the end of the month. Iturraspe is filling in nicely but I wonder how much longer he will hold that level. 

The good news is that Sociedad are battling relegation almost midway through the season. Hopefully a lower morale in Merino could see him switch to the other Basque side which is currently shuttling between 3rd and 4th spot :D

Merino will probably have a release fee of around 19m. I'd hold all your money back for that, and it might be the second season until you can afford that. But he will join. With Real Sociedad, there are some guys who will never join no matter what; Zaldua and Elustondo (although you're generally OK in defence anyway), and Oyarzabal has never shown any interest in signing over ten years (and he is still excellent into his thirties), but some saves here have had success in signing him. I think the general gist is that the first 2-3 seasons will be your toughest but you should definitely be getting European and maybe CL football. Then hopefully your regens develop by the time you phase out Susaeta, De Marcos, etc. Garcia leaving never bothered me much as I don't play an AMC and he's only moderately effective as a CM or backup striker. The 100k saving is a bonus. Hopefully Sancet/Nolaskoian are good in your game. Alvaro Nunez, a RB in your C or u19s, is good in mine. 

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Well, I started out with a transfer budget of 23 million euro, so that should be enough to get Merino moving. I'll also be looking to offload some deadweight to free up more funds and I'm pretty sure I won't be able to stop De Marcos or Iturraspe making big money moves to China at the end of the season due to enormous interest in them. So money shouldn't be an issue. I started my save with the transfer window open, maybe that's why. 

Sancet and Nolaskoain are both very highly rated in terms of PA. Also Juan Artola, Ruben Azcona, Unai Vencedor, Alvaro Nuñez indeed, Dani Vivian, Jon Sillero and Gorka Guruzeta will one day be first team regulars as they all have a guaranteed 3 star PA minimum. Must've been lucky with some of the variable PA's because 9 youth/reserve players of which the majority could be brought in by the start of season two is exceptional in any Athletic save I've ever done.

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My heart is broken..

e6a8ebf540c2c6f1901e7e28baccb4f5.png

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I am through the half season and things are looking good, I am also experimenting with this tactic with great success

50a89e50b4ff6eede89139e022abb55b.png

 

@TOMetz I stole your idea of using Susaeta as a Raumdeuter, amazing how efficient he is at that role. Thanks!

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@TOMetz

On 13/08/2019 at 12:45, TOMetz said:

although it has evolved to @maccataq's 5-3-2 which is on page 6 I think. The third tactic is a 4-2-3-1, also for the reasons of highly suited player potential and in case of injuries or suspensions among the back three. 

It wasn't mine, I think I just quoted @bowieinspace's post which had this in. I can never adopt a back 3 formation but I often have them as my 3rd formation. I just love wingers / AMCs so getting them both in is a struggle.

On 13/08/2019 at 12:45, TOMetz said:

'll be looking to sell Kodro and might TL Raul Garcia since he's such a strain on the wage budget and I don't really have a perfect place for him in my team. Maybe he'll perform well as a BBM on the '8' position.

Raul Garcia ended up being a BBM for me and was in my title winning team plus also could be a DLP. I know you are playing off a slightly later database than me though since you have Kodro and Ibai so not sure if RG is less effective. What I would say though is he is worth keeping from his leadership and mentoring perspective. Benat too.

Check out Jorge Herrando and Roberto Torres both of Osasuna. The former will only be young at the start and may well have variable potential but turned out good for me. The latter I picked up for a few million and did well in a BBM or DLP role.

I eventually managed to sign Oyarzabal after Real Sociedad got relegated - what a player he is! Can't be many players in the game with a better attribute spread than him!

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1 hour ago, maccataq said:

@TOMetz

It wasn't mine, I think I just quoted @bowieinspace's post which had this in. I can never adopt a back 3 formation but I often have them as my 3rd formation. I just love wingers / AMCs so getting them both in is a struggle.

Good to hear it's working for you @TOMetz. I love the idea of a 3 at the back but I never fully commit to it to be honest. I'm too much of a 4-3-3-/4-1-4-1 disciple to stick with it long term (unless I'm doing a save with the specific intention of exploring a tactical concept). I did very much enjoy the 3-5-2 at the start of my Athletic save, but as noted somewhere back on a previous page I moved away from it to rotate between just 2 formations. Athletic this year with Nunez, Yeray and Martinez are really well set up to do it though.

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Posted (edited)

Cheers, lads!

@Pavi So glad to hear Markel isn't just deuting the Raum for me. Interesting tactic too! Do you manage to keep Nuñez happy by rotating hard?

@maccataq I know the struggle, I do like my wingers too, and while my 541 with wing-backs and wide AM's does work, there are times that my midfield is simply overrun or just doesn't create. It's so hard to find a good balance with those two lone central midfielders. I've switched from a BWM and a BBM to a BWM and a DLP or a AP, tried CMd and CMa with player specific PI's, ... (If anyone has any specific tips on how to optimize my CM's from my previous tactics screenshot, feel free!) Could be the quality I have on hand right now. I'd like to see how this works with players like Merino and Herrera. 

@bowieinspace I do agree it's a difficult system to create the same consistency with as I have with countless saves with different teams in a 4123. But it gets so boring over time. If there's one team that is fit for three at the back, it must be Athletic :) The tough choice is either exploiting your quality wingers or stacking the midfield. I still haven't found the right way here although recently I've started using a 3511WB with Guruzeta as a shadow striker behind Aritz as a TMs or Iñaki as a PFa combined with Muniain as the MEZ on the left. There's some potential here.

More on this real soon.

Edited by TOMetz

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6 minutes ago, TOMetz said:

It's so hard to find a good balance with those two lone central midfielders. I've switched from a BWM and a BBM to a BWM and a DLP or a AP, tried CMd and CMa with player specific PI's, ... (If anyone has any specific tips on how to optimize my CM's from my previous tactics screenshot, feel free!) Could be the quality I have on hand right now. I'd like to see how this works with players like Merino and Herrera. 

I like to play DLP (D) and BBM in my midfield 2. Merino/Herrera are the best 2 you could get here but Benat/Garcia is a good combo. I sometimes also like to play an AP (S) in place of the BBM in some cases, usually at home against teams I expect to beat. Oyarzabal is good in this role but others can play it too. Sancet is a good Mezzala as an alternative.

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An encouraging first season for me as we managed to qualify for the UCL, for a brief spell in February I was even title contender fighting alongside Atletico. But came April and a terrible spell of three losses and two draws. Barcelona, who weren't looking particularly consistent the first six months, went on a four months winning spree and secure the title by only one point. I loved the fact that Réal looked poor all season, we beat them twice, and didn't qualified for the UCL. Must be weird to watch los blancos in Europa League against a side like Videoton!

We actually filled the trophy cabinet with the welcome addition of the club's 24th Copa del Rey. The final was a tense match resolved by a Muniain's screamer at 118' in extra-time, when I was already preparing to suffer during penalty shoot-outs. That also increased a lot managerial support from both players and board. There is the weird issue that with new database where the elections which Elizegi won IRL are held only to have Elizegi replaced. Weird. Anyway, I am pretty happy on how things went and am excited about the second season, in which I will have better control on who to keep in the first team.

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In terms of performances, Williams did OK-ish as a Pressing Forward netting 12, but he also went on unimpressive performances runs. Aduriz has decided to retire and I am planning to promote Guruzeta who, at least in my game, seems a better option than Villalibre, Córdoba or Kodro. The highlight was the defence, we conceded only 23 in the Liga. Yeray, Martínez and Núñez are really solid option. Remiro did amazingly between the posts as well.

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As for transfers during the season, having decided to go the purist way and signing only Basque players I only added Iván Martínez from Osasuna. He's just 17 but probably will be the next big Basque keeper available. It is nice to have him so early in the save as I can mentor him and guide his development.

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But for next season I already secured several key arrivals, including David García as a centre-back, the return of Aketxe and the one and only Mikel Merino! Since January I've kept scouting him until his interest for a move finally changed to "extremely interested" in May when we confirmed UCL qualification, I hence immediately activated his release clause. 

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The best two newgen of my intake are two strikers, both very promising but the rest, alas, not as much....hopefully will improve next season.

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One last happy note, our B Team got promoted to Segunda, I was actually thinking of signing some players at small fees just to ensure they stay up and to complement our youngsters. It is great for their development that they will be able to play at such competitive level.

Aupa Athletic!

 

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Posted (edited)

Sh**t!

Finished posting the above, clicked continue on FM and Arsenal have just met Yeray's release clause!

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I offered him a new contract straight away....let's hope he decides to stay...

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All well what ends well!

Edited by Pavi

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1 hour ago, Pavi said:

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A sad moment..

Sad indeed - he's retiring in real life at the end of the season. Will be interesting to see how they replace him. I think as we've all probably found, we've relied on newgens but not sure if Kodro, Villalibre or Guruzeta are up to it. Maybe they could move Williams up top.

Edit: Looks like they are playing Williams up top tonight against Barca! 0-0 after 52 mins - let's hope they can give Barca a bad start to the season

Edited by maccataq

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58 minutes ago, maccataq said:

Sad indeed - he's retiring in real life at the end of the season. Will be interesting to see how they replace him. I think as we've all probably found, we've relied on newgens but not sure if Kodro, Villalibre or Guruzeta are up to it. Maybe they could move Williams up top.

Edit: Looks like they are playing Williams up top tonight against Barca! 0-0 after 52 mins - let's hope they can give Barca a bad start to the season

HAVE YOU SEEN THE GOAL HE JUST SCORED AGAINST BARCELONA?!?! OMG! He's a true modern legend of Athletic.

IRL, they just renewed Williams with a contract up to 2028! Probably the longest ever contract at this level. 

In my second season now and Williams and Guruzeta are doing fine actually....we will see.

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18 minutes ago, Pavi said:

HAVE YOU SEEN THE GOAL HE JUST SCORED AGAINST BARCELONA?!?! OMG! He's a true modern legend of Athletic.

Incredible!!! What a goal!

 

18 minutes ago, Pavi said:

IRL, they just renewed Williams with a contract up to 2028!

Great news! I read something suggesting he was on for a record tonight for distance covered!

Edit: Apparently he ran 10.2km in the first half alone! Pure gratitude for the big contract.

Edited by maccataq

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2 hours ago, maccataq said:

Incredible!!! What a goal!

What a way to start his last season!

2 hours ago, maccataq said:

Great news! I read something suggesting he was on for a record tonight for distance covered!

Edit: Apparently he ran 10.2km in the first half alone! Pure gratitude for the big contract.

I was home watching the game and at half time Spanish TV showed the stats of his distance covered and I actually thought it must have been a misreading. The issue though is that for me he should dose his effort better to be fresher in the one v. one following a counter.

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10 hours ago, Pavi said:

The issue though is that for me he should dose his effort better to be fresher in the one v. one following a counter.

Yeah that's fair. I can't imagine he'll put that effort in every week though.

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Update Season 1:

The yearly Bilbao save started later in the FM year than normal this time around - mainly after watching them beat West Ham in the BetFred Cup!

League Final position

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Really happy with how we did in the league picking up the Champions League qualification will be huge for the cash flow. I think next season it will be hard to repeat and the squad depth will need to be improved due to the volume of games.

 

Copa Del Rey

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We managed to get to the final and managed to knock Real Madrid out on the way to the final. Unfortunately the final was against league winners Athletico who won 3-0.

Extremely happy with the season and will be a challenge to build on this with a £10m transfer budget for next season. I have bought in Monreal for 650k but any further improvements will be tough.

 

AUPA ATHLETIC

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21 hours ago, Branst23 said:

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Glad to see I'm not the only one who plays three games in a row against the same teams from the top tier when you're also drawn against them in the cup. Seriously, this happens once per every decent cup run. :lol:

And yes, that Aduriz goal was pure beauty. Along with the reaction from his teammates. They adore him. What a player. Let's hope we all enjoy his last season.

Edited by TOMetz

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Great start @Branst23 - very strong finish to the season just a shame about the cup final. I lost the cup final to Atletico in my first season too. In fact, it took me until 2024 to win it at my 3rd final attempt - always feels like a very winnable competition but it seems guaranteed that you will face 2 of the big 3 if you get to the final.

 

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I'm back on my Athletic save after some time off the game, and a fun stint doing some tactical experiments. Currrently about 12 games in to the 2023/24 season with a new look system using inverted wing backs. Will update around Christmas time :) 

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