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[FM19] Southampton | Turning the Ship Around

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[FM19] Southampton | Turning the Ship Around

Career Aims

  1. Reverse the recent fortunes of my beloved Southampton by returning them to European football and domestic cup success within 5 years.
  2. Resurrect a stagnating Academy by ensuring first team opportunities for youth team prospects.
  3. Identify and develop young prospects from China, USA and Canada.

Game Setup

Prior to starting the game I have setup a custom database, to make some minor changes. You can call it cheating if you like, I prefer to think of it as expediting my fun! Due to the amount of time I can afford to spend in FM these days I play fairly slowly and need a little helping hand I find to get me going and give me the impetus to continue. So the changes I made are as follows:

  • Affiliations with Zhejiang, Edmonton and Seattle are set up. Each incurs a standard yearly fee of around £20k. Terms of the affiliation include friendly matches, youth team players sharing training facilities, shared scouting knowledge and merchandising boost.
  • Mark Hughes and his backroom staff team are removed from the club. In my little world he was never offered a contract at the end of last season! Recruitment of my own backroom team will occur in game.
  • James Ward-Prowse now knows how to curl a ball, cause boy that lad can swing a good free kick in.

At the start of the game I have opted to remove transfers from the first window, and have removed attribute masking. Leagues loaded on a large database are as follows:

  • China (top flight only)
  • England (League 2 up)
  • France (Ligue Deux up)
  • Germany (2 Bundesliga up)
  • Italy (Serie B up)
  • Holland (top flight only)
  • Portugal (top flight only)
  • Russia (top flight only)
  • Spain (Segunda Division up)
  • Players retained from top divisions of Scotland, Croatia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Australia and Japan.
  • Players retained from top clubs of Belgium, Greece, Switzerland, Chile, Uruguay, Colombia and South Korea.

Lastly my manager profile. I'm imagining this fellow as some sort of ex-Defender type, early retirement and fast-tracked into management. So the usual FM jizz-story really. :brock:

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Strategy

So as you can see I'm a Saint at heart and my motivation for going in for a career here is to sort out the many shades of **** we currently have in the team. I really want to get the old youth conveyor belt back up and running, which has stalled in recent years. This shouldn't be too difficult given the facilities available to me. Hopefully, in doing so I can build a squad to challenge in the right half of the Premier League. To twist things up I also want to try and bring through a player or two from China, given our ownership association. Furthermore, I think it would be fun to pick out some young Americans and Canadians. Canada because the Ralph Kreuger connection, America cause lol why not.

I'm not going to nail my colours to the mast of any particular tactic, I mainly just want to find want to find a method that works. Over-time as I get used to the ME and the new training module I will maybe try and create some sort of "signature" approach, but we will see.

Aiming to update this thread 4 times a season, Pre-Season, October, January and end of Season. At time of writing I am in November in game, having started the save about a week ago - so will try and catch my tail with the next couple of posts.

 

Edited by Saintmat

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Pre-Season 2018

Squad Overview

I'm sure many of you reading will have some familiarity with the Southampton squad this year, nevertheless I'm going to cover here what I've inherited going into this season and where I want to go in the future. I've gone with no transfers in the first month for this save, so no changes could be made. Here's what I have to work with for the next 5 months:

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At first glance you'll see this team as well balanced in terms of positional coverage, age spread and personality. We've got lots of hard working players, good height and a good amount of technical ability in the team. When you take a closer look however there are some areas of concern. Cedric is the only right back in the team, so I've pulled young Yan Valery up from the youth squad to provide a bit of cover here. He's performed well in pre-season so I am aiming to give him some game time in the early part of this season. Fraser Forster is on enormous wages and is our 3rd choice goalie, so I'll need to send him out the door soon (such a pity given his personality type...). My main concern however is at the back and up front. Defensively we have good height, but not a great deal of speed. This makes me doubtful we can maintain a high line and will lead to us being under pressure in lots of games. Up front we have a number of hard workers, but I know that these guys don't tend to score a whole lot and certainly not consistently. Ings is probably the best of an average bunch, but I suspect we will struggle for goals this year.

In the youth team we have a few players who perhaps can make the first team, but I'm not massively convinced by any of them. As mentioned Valery has something about him. Otherwise the best of the rest are probably Josh Sims (on loan at Reading), Michael Obafemi (great physicals, needs a lot of work technically) and Callum Slattery (great techically, needs to develop mentally). These are the guys I will try and integrate over the next couple of seasons. 

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1106723196_Obafemi2018.thumb.png.a643ead21d0232cb6193cc0f6a4f8327.png463899260_Slattery2018.thumb.png.60b43a4ab05f476981eee7389f3d3c76.png

Staff Team

With no transfer business to talk of, I focused my efforts on bringing in a good staff team. All in all, I'm fairly pleased with this lot. There is room for improvement but unfortunately I couldn't attract much better than this for the time being.

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Tactical Approach

I've setup with two styles going into the start of this season. A 5-3-2 designed to get players behind the ball when the big-boys come to town and a 4-2-3-1 that aims to control the pitch when we will see more of the ball. I think one benefit of doing this is it should give the team a good amount of tactical flexibility when we need to adapt. Generally I will tweak things as we go into the season and as I find out about the fun surprises SI have left us in the ME... The setups and anticipated lineups are as follows:

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Pre-Season

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A good, solid pre-season here. Had to shift out the automatic friendlies so we played some semi-decent opposition along the way. Squad are generally fit, with no major injury concerns. Only Shane Long is out for the first month (whatever will I do!!!!).

Season Expectations

The board expect me to finish in the top half. Personally I think with this squad that could be quite tricky, and there will be long periods where we suffer. If I can navigate our way through the year without being sucked into a relegation battle then I'll be pleased. Hopefully if I hit my target of 45 points minimum this season that should be enough. I have no particular aims for the cups. August, September and October will look like this for me:

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Not the easiest of starts, with away trips to Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool in the first 10 games. I'm hoping to take around 12 points from these games.

Edited by Saintmat

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October 2018

Fixture Review

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So, 12 points from 12 games was achieved but it's not been all plain sailing. Highlight so far has to be the dismantlement of Newcastle at home, who besides that game have an unbelievable defensive record. This was quickly followed by the low light where we had our arses handed to us by QPR. I have no idea what happened really to cause that, they got an early goal and it seemed impossible for my side to turn the tide around. We've had some difficulty breaking teams down, and goals have not been easy to come by. Liverpool and Arsenal were too strong for us, but we bounced back after a little tactical shift  to beat Palace 2-0. Consistency is the issue mainly, so that's the aim for the next part of the season. Here is the table as it stands.

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Tactical Approach

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The 5-3-2 still needs some work and I will persist with it for now. I've found against more evenly matched opposition this 4-3-3 is doing a good job of breaking teams down and making the most of the players I have.

Key Performers

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As mentioned goals have been difficult to come by and the burden is fairly thinly spread at this point. We are getting good average performances from Cedric, Hojberg and Armstrong, although I'm not entirely convinced that the game's rating system is entirely reliant. Gabbiadini, Lemina and Vestergaard have been disappointing this far.

Other Developments

I am getting an awful lot of complaints from players about playing time. Ward-Prowse, Romeu, Lemina and Vestergaard have all approached me about this and it eventually led to a team meeting to sort out. Insolent children...

 Fraser Forster has agreed a transfer to Galatasaray, very pleased to get him off the wage bill. I'm looking ahead to January and have a budget of £62 million (!) to play with. Thinking about going in for Celta Vigo's Maximiliano Gomez. If anyone has experience of him and can recommend, then let me know! I'm also thinking about a defensive upgrade. Generally I don't go in for mid-season transfers so it could be that nothing happens until the summer.

Upcoming Fixtures

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A tough start to the next period, with Man Utd, Man City and Tottenham in the next 4 games. After that though I'm hoping to put a run of form together up into the new year. Let's aim for.... 20 points.

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I am not a Southampton fan in real life, but they are my all time favourite team to manage in FM.  I always aim to manage them at some point.

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January 2019

I did say I play slowly...

Fixture Review

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Lowlights: Losing to Wolves was gutting, as we conceded in the 4th minute of extra time. 

Highlights: Beating United with two last minute goals!! We've had a nack for turning games around, coming from behind against Leicester (from 2-0 down) and Brighton away from home. Smashing Bournemouth at home in the FA Cup was also quite satisfying...

Overall: Need to improve consistency, which is mainly down to misfiring forwards (Ings excluded).

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Look at United! :lol:

Tactics

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After starting quite cautiously I've developed a more positive mentality. The board would like me to play attacking and possession football, which with this squad and with this match engine seems like being asked to make a tower of soup. Will persist for the rest of this year with the first of the above screenshots and hope that spares me the chop...

Key Performers

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You know how I know this game is truly broken? The match engine? Bizarre AI manager behaviour? No. It's because in this game Wesley Hoedt is an absolute BEAST.

Summary: Needs more goals. 

Youth Progress

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Of the highlighted players in my first post, young Valery here has had the most opportunities to shine. Seems to be developing nicely. Obafemi is out on loan, and there's no space in the midfield yet for Slattery. In addition to those, Gallagher has been getting some game time (although my coaches don't think much of him) and I've taken a shine to Will Ferry who has a great personality type and I feel a fair bit of potential.

Transfers

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My first American has arrived! Tyler Adams from NYRB has all the makings of a great holding midfielder, which is great because that's the one area of the team we lack decent cover for anyway. Charlie Austin makes way, as he was being a donkey up front and blocking Gallagher from getting game time. Other than that the pre-arranged Forster transfer happened (freeing up ~£600k p/m in wages between them) and a bunch of youth team players were cleared out to make way for my next intake.

Upcoming Fixtures

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Here is the road to the end of the season, featuring a couple of tough spells ahead. By my odds we should finish the season somewhere between 50 and 55 points, which hopefully should be enough for top half.

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May 2019 - End of 1st Season

Christmas break means quality FM time.

Fixture Review

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Lowlights: Not too many! Losing to Wolves again wasn't great, and disappointingly out with a limp in the FA Cup.

Highlights: Came through difficult periods again with minimal damage. Two terrific turnarounds in our final two games, including a last minute winner from 17 year old inside forward Alexandre Jankewitz to relegate Brighton. Think I might have something special here...

Overall: A good end to the season.

Season Review

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Mid-table mediocrity, but a good platform to build on.

Negatives:

  • Inconsistency, only put together a run of two consecutive wins at any one point.
  • Poor record against upper, bottom half sides (e.g. Watford, Bournemouth, Wolves).
  • Lack of goals in team. Reliant on Ings (14 goals) to get us through games mostly.
    • 5th for chances created and 4th for shots on target but conversion rate is only 8%.
    • Won 9 penalties all season (joint 1st in league) but scored just 4 of them.

Positives:

  • Ruthlessness. Took most points (50% of all points achieved) off bottom 5 teams.
  • Good desire in squad to come back from behind.
  • Gave opportunities to youth team players to play in first team squad.
  • Discipline. 1 penalty conceded all season. No red cards.
  • Good injury record.

Tactics

Board are much happier with the progressive Football, perhaps I gave my players too little faith in the last post. It doesn't always work, but the desire in the squad to keep going right to the final whistle has been fantastic.

Key Performers

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Cedric and Hoedt have very much been the bedrock, and Ings has got us the goals when we've really needed it.

Youth Progress

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These three have been the most impressive young players for me. Valery had the most game time, as he was 2nd choice behind Cedric. Slattery and Jankewitz have only made cameos but involving them in the first team training seems to really have benefitted them. Suspect loan moves next season would be beneficial.

Summary

A good season, achieving my slightly unambitious objective of staying up and finished in the top half. Must address inconsistency, and lack of goals in the team going forwards. Looking for some sort of cup run for next season as well.

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Pre-Season 2019

Squad Changes

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So, a few moves of note. Leaving us are 3/5 of our forward line last year in Long, Gabbiadini and Gallagher. Having given Gallagher the opportunity, he clearly needs a good few seasons in the Championship before he will reach our standard so he has left on a loan to buy. Gabbiadini was earning far too much for a rotational option player, who scored 3 last season. Cut price deal, but had to be done. The only unplanned move was Ryan Bertrand, who at 29 was only going to decrease in value. I feel the amount West Ham paid justifies the deal, and we have two left backs in Targett and McQueen to replace him already.

Coming in is Callum Wilson. I paid a lot more money than perhaps he is actually worth, but then there is a premium in trying to pry players away from Bournemouth when you are Southampton! He was 3rd top scorer last season and should hopefully help to up that 8% conversion rate from last season.

Unfortunately we come into the start of the season with a bit of an injury crisis. Redmond picked up an ACL in March, while the returning Boufal and Elyounoussi both have 3/4 week injuries - leaving us rather short of wide options. Jankewitz who played so well in the last game of last season, and having impressed in pre-season, will come in to fill the gap. Michael Obafemi has also had a good pre-season and will perhaps get an opportunity too.

The young CAMs, Hesketh and Slattery will soon be out on loan to aid their development.

Staff Team

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A few changes in the backroom. New DoF and a much better HoSS being the main two.

Tactical Approach

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Continuing more-or-less with the same strategy at the end of last season, but with the injuries we are better off playing a horizontally flipped formation in the first few games.

Pre-Season

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Mixed feelings about pre-season in general, mainly due to the injury issues but very pleased to see Jankewitz have such an impact. Promising much at this stage, but will have to manage him carefully and avoid overburdening him.

Season Expectations

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This year the aim is another top half finish and at least a quarter final in the FA or League cup. Would like a minimum of 57 points in the league, which would have placed us 7th last year. Tough start to come, but hoping that we can pick up some consistent wins after the Man City game.

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October 2019

Fixture Review

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Lowlights: Disappointing to go down to Man United and Liverpool, but I can't really complain as we've had a good run of results prior to that.

Highlights: Some consistency at last! And what a win on the first day against Spurs. JWP is the new captain and he marked his first game with a brace, and a debut goal for Callum Wilson. Couldn't get any better really! In our most recent match, I was delighted to see Redmond get a goal on his return from an 8 month injury lay-off, even if we did lose.

Overall:  Really pleased. Need to follow this up now.

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A terrific start. At the top, United will be the team to catch this year (they have signed Dybala & Isco, and now are managed by Pellegrini - yes that one) though I doubt we will be in that race come May!

Tactics

Same as before, but I'm starting to feel it's a bit imbalanced when we play the stronger sides in the division. Will look at developing something a bit more counter-attack orientated across the rest of this season

Key Performers

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Summary: The introduction of Wilson to the team has had the desired effect, thankfully given my penchant for big money flops. Boufal and Carillo have made an impact on their return from loan spell, maybe I'll be able to make something out of them after all... Targett has stepped up to replace Bertrand and JWP has excelled in his captaincy role.

Youth Progress

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It's all about this guy. Redmond's injury left us short of players who could make an impact out wide. Whenever I've introduced him, he's come up with the goods. Now Redmond is back I will have to think carefully how I can continue to best develop him. Not convinced a loan spell is right, but I don't want him to be short of opportunities. It looks likely Elyounoussi will be leaving us come the end of the season, which should free up the spot for him in the first team so long term I think I am sorted. I'm convinced he is one for the future though (if not now!).

Upcoming Fixtures

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A tricky run in December to navigate, but otherwise the fixtures list looks like we will have some spells to pick up wins. With Spurs and West Ham under-performing, I think we have an opportunity for continental qualification. Exciting times at St Mary's!

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Pleased to see Jankewitz looking good. Still in the first season (I'm slower than you!!!!) but he's the outstanding youth in the squad so far by the looks of things. (Slattery is very good too, but nowhere near as versatile)

Have you been able to get anything worthwhile out of Redmond? He's been disappointing for me so far, as has Vestergaard whenever he has played, but the rest seem to be very solid.

It's interesting to see how things differ on different saves.

Looking forward to the next update!

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1 hour ago, MrMungo said:

Pleased to see Jankewitz looking good. Still in the first season (I'm slower than you!!!!) but he's the outstanding youth in the squad so far by the looks of things. (Slattery is very good too, but nowhere near as versatile)

Have you been able to get anything worthwhile out of Redmond? He's been disappointing for me so far, as has Vestergaard whenever he has played, but the rest seem to be very solid.

It's interesting to see how things differ on different saves.

Looking forward to the next update!

Hah I'm glad to hear I'm not the slowest player out here!

Yes Slattery looks great attribute wise but I'm yet to see him be a game changer for me. I think it might be a few years before he breaks into the first team consistently. Quite a few good looking players in the U23s but not as many in the U18s as I was expecting (pre-youth intake of course). That reminds me to do a bit on the youth intake, perhaps at the end of the season.

For me Redmond has been hit and miss, but after a big injury he has returned with some good performances. I play him as an Inside Forward on the left (which tbf is his preferred position) of a front 3, which gives him space to get in behind defences. I think that he might need a bit of a boost attribute wise given his real life form in the January patch - but it is unlikely.

Vestergaard has also been disappointing. I think in game he is too slow to play well in a high line and does not have the ball playing skills to distribute the way I need him to. Sneak peak to my next update - I have now let him leave on loan.

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1 hour ago, Saintmat said:

Hah I'm glad to hear I'm not the slowest player out here!

Yes Slattery looks great attribute wise but I'm yet to see him be a game changer for me. I think it might be a few years before he breaks into the first team consistently. Quite a few good looking players in the U23s but not as many in the U18s as I was expecting (pre-youth intake of course). That reminds me to do a bit on the youth intake, perhaps at the end of the season.

For me Redmond has been hit and miss, but after a big injury he has returned with some good performances. I play him as an Inside Forward on the left (which tbf is his preferred position) of a front 3, which gives him space to get in behind defences. I think that he might need a bit of a boost attribute wise given his real life form in the January patch - but it is unlikely.

Vestergaard has also been disappointing. I think in game he is too slow to play well in a high line and does not have the ball playing skills to distribute the way I need him to. Sneak peak to my next update - I have now let him leave on loan.

Rest assured you're not the slowest player out there. That goes to Vestergaard! :P

He's just been poor for me with general defending duties aswell. Wanted to keep him as injury cover, but he's already whinging, so think he'll be on the way out soon for me - either loan or full transfer.

Will give Redmond some more game time - got Nasri coming in once his ban is finished, so will have options there soon at least.

Looking forward to the next update. Hope the youth intake is kind to you!

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I always usually enjoy a Southampton save due to their youngsters.... but none seem to have that * factor like they used to. Will be following your progress though!

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On 17/01/2019 at 12:49, MrMungo said:

Rest assured you're not the slowest player out there. That goes to Vestergaard! :P

He's just been poor for me with general defending duties aswell. Wanted to keep him as injury cover, but he's already whinging, so think he'll be on the way out soon for me - either loan or full transfer.

Will give Redmond some more game time - got Nasri coming in once his ban is finished, so will have options there soon at least.

Looking forward to the next update. Hope the youth intake is kind to you!

Hah! Well good luck with yours. Will be interested to hear how you get on!

On 18/01/2019 at 14:50, WillHoward42 said:

I always usually enjoy a Southampton save due to their youngsters.... but none seem to have that * factor like they used to. Will be following your progress though!

Are we talking newgens or the players in the team at the start? Thanks for reading!

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January 2020

Fixture Review

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Lowlights:  Being dumped out of the FA cup by Liverpool, as I was hoping for a run to the quarters this year.

Highlights: An enormous unbeaten run, from mid December to now, has really cemented our position in the table.

Overall: Very pleased!

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Great points gap between us and Everton.

Key Performers

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Ward-Prowse, Hoedt and Cedric continue to excel and Wilson is still getting the goals we need. Dissapointed in Elyounoussi so far this year. Curious to see if the AI managers are still interested in him at the end of the season. Gunn has been whinging so I am going to play him in most games between now and the end of the year, rather than risk losing him. Have been pleased with Boufal and Carillo's contributions on their return to the squad from a year in exile!

Youth Progress

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Jankewitz and Valery continue to shine. I am pleased with the amount of game time I am finding for them at the moment. Alfie Jones has been in the youth team most of this season but I want to try and give him a run and see if he can turn into anything greater. Out on loan, Obafemi is tearing up League 1 with Wycombe and my trio of Freeman, Vokins and Slattery at Walsall seem to be faring well in the Championship.

Transfers

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Just the one incoming - Jonathan Panzo from Monaco. Very highly rated by my scouts and was being released for just £1 million. Couldn't say no to that. For the outs we say goodbye to two center backs, Vestergaard (on a loan to buy) and Yoshida. Panzo slots in very nicely to that gap.

Upcoming Fixtures

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With no cup action left, it's a run of Premier League games to the end. The Everton game will be very important. 

Edited by Saintmat

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May 2020 - End of 2nd Season

Fixture Review

Results.thumb.png.9a1b6ae81a5633f0e602cbb94e87cc43.png

A solid end to the season.

Highlights: Putting the Cherries in their place :cool:

Lowlights: Losses to West Ham and Palace on the final day of the season are the sorts of games I really want to stamp out.

Season Review

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Quite the incredible season really! 6th place and a European campaign to follow.

Negatives:

  • Improved on return against 3rd ¼ of teams, but still some room for improvement. Seems to be more complacency against these sides.
  • Goals conceded from corners (3rd bottom).
  • Central defensive midfield position seems to consistently get low performance ratings. Unsure if this is a ME issue, or if the players I have aren’t well suited to the role.
  • Being dumped out of the cups, with rather unfavourable draws. Need to figure out how to play consistently well against the best teams in the league.

Positives:

 

  • Points taken from (and denied to) teams around us  (55.5% of all possible points).
  • Callum Wilson has been a big success, scoring 21 goals in the league.
  • Number of goals overall (4th in the league) and 2nd highest conversion rate.
  • Consistent spells, winning games we should be.
  • Didn’t concede a single penalty all season!
  • No major injuries all season.
  • Squad happiness, managed to give players enough game time.

In other news, the title race this year was something else...

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English teams going deep into Europe had a knock on effect meaning Liverpool played Arsenal on the Wednesday after the final day of the season - winning and overtaking Man Utd. Speaking of Arsenal, they had one hell of a packed May fixture list.

868804352_ArsenalinMay.thumb.png.faca7a71fd4ff3fb1b8fc1998fe749d2.png :eek:

On the other side of North London, Spurs had an awful campaign in the league. This resulted in Zidane coming in for Pochettino and then this...

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And as if that wasn't enough, the Bundesliga saw Hertha Berlin take the title and Atletico Madrid topped La Liga. Utterly bonkers...

Tactics

The 443 attack from my earlier post seems to still be doing the trick against the majority of teams. I am tweaking a variation of this tactic when I play the stronger teams in the league, with mixed results. The formation does not necessarily stay the same, but I adapt depending on where I anticipate the danger zones are going to be.

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Key Performers

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Star man this year has been James Ward-Prowse, who has really impressed after being handed the captains armband, finishing the season as our 3rd highest scorer. Cedric and Wesley Hoedt have both been fantastic for me again. Callum Wilson's arrival really had the desired effect, adding 21 goals to the team and lowering the pressure on Ings to provide the goals.

Youth Progress

455565819_AdamsMay2020.thumb.png.2708f877ea2df4cd5f4a5d972cba3135.png417862689_SimsMay2020.thumb.png.6534112087ae25c43fb9ea0f6fabfdff.png376293565_SlatteryMay2020.thumb.png.13dda86b5cc39f2f93aa3bb8e99a542a.png1758418007_VokinsMay2020.thumb.png.ecd341ccaf0acf9838709af21ca0b9c3.png1302171665_ValeryMay2020.thumb.png.ae486340b244611d25c602215d0a2e11.png581309270_JankewitzMay2020.thumb.png.d46c0c5ac46d18a80131d3722fcf46b6.png

Starting with this years loan contingent, Tyler Adams and Jake Vokins are the two to have really excelled. Both are looking like tidy little youngsters who could very easily be involved in the 1st team, with us hopefully competing on multiple fronts. Josh Sims had a bumpy year with Hamburg, but did finish the season as a DFB-Pokal winner. I really like the look of him, but it is difficult to see exactly where he fits into my team at the moment. I will experiment with him in pre-season and see if there is a way to integrate him. Slattery didn't pull up trees out at Walsall, but continues to develop well. Depending on his performances in the early parts of the season I will decide whether to keep him around the 1st team.

Valery and Jankewitz both formed part of my 1st team squad this year. After Jankewitz's blistering start, he struggled to replicate his form consistently. I should maybe take the blame for some of this, as I only used him sporadically. I think I will try and make him a starter in European games this season. Yan Valery ended up as my highest average rating player, however this was from a handful of appearances when Cedric was not available. The plan with him is to continue as is current, unless Cedric leaves.

719208804_DolanMay2020.thumb.png.6103c71fc459995afaeebe3e958af265.png84139768_HuntMay2020.thumb.png.a2da2208be17ef7f62b924ec5e838411.png2050146651_ManningMay2020.thumb.png.24fc72ad8a134a471eff6e3ac15a6e30.png825272940_MooreMay2020.thumb.png.d52d745757092b7b1538958d76d7ba7f.png157602745_SouthwoodMay2020.thumb.png.ffd362444a7151700538cd9c063e0c1c.png308964977_WestMay2020.thumb.png.eabbc455f6c3732350557ff45e07311b.png

I've realised that I haven't talked very much about my youth intakes! Here is a selection of my most promising newgens to have come through. All apart from Paul Dolan and Stewart Manning are from 1st season intake. Southwood has even already scored for me this year!

Summary

An excellent campaign. Season 3 ought to be fun. I am hoping for a similar finish in the league and at least one cup run!

 

Edited by Saintmat

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I started a game with Southampton recently and it’s really interesting to see the different approaches. 

I went with a 4-3-3 from the offset, 3 strikers. Ings and long as PF’s either side of Austin as a Poacher, which has been devastating. Austin is on 12/13 goals at Christmas and I’m flittering between top and fourth. I’m trying to emulate the Klopp gegenpress so have been pushing the players hard. Unfortunately Austin just got injured for a few months so I will need to dip into the market.

First window I only signed one player of note, Thomas Soukek (sp?) who plays as a half back and has been a colossus. I also signed Lars Stindle as another option up top and he was dire before a big injury and is now out for the season.  

This winter window I just signed Victor Lindloff but it wasn’t hugely necessary as Stevens and Hoedt have been amazing. So now on the look out for a striker to fill the void while Austin is out. Have been looking at Wilson but don’t know if I have the finances to get it over the line. 

Anyway, really enjoyed the read, thanks. 

 

Good luck

 

 

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On 05/02/2019 at 17:58, dancochrane said:

I started a game with Southampton recently and it’s really interesting to see the different approaches. 

I went with a 4-3-3 from the offset, 3 strikers. Ings and long as PF’s either side of Austin as a Poacher, which has been devastating. Austin is on 12/13 goals at Christmas and I’m flittering between top and fourth. I’m trying to emulate the Klopp gegenpress so have been pushing the players hard. Unfortunately Austin just got injured for a few months so I will need to dip into the market.

First window I only signed one player of note, Thomas Soukek (sp?) who plays as a half back and has been a colossus. I also signed Lars Stindle as another option up top and he was dire before a big injury and is now out for the season.  

This winter window I just signed Victor Lindloff but it wasn’t hugely necessary as Stevens and Hoedt have been amazing. So now on the look out for a striker to fill the void while Austin is out. Have been looking at Wilson but don’t know if I have the finances to get it over the line. 

Anyway, really enjoyed the read, thanks. 

 

Good luck

 

 

Sounds like you took to life at Saints much better than I did! Interesting about Lindeloff - he popped up as an option on mine too. Part of me is trying to stick to a realistic model of how Saints operate in real life, and his wages would have blown that out of the water (even though I probably could have got him). Good luck with yours if you're still playing and thanks for reading!

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Pre-Season 2020

Squad Changes

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An interesting campaign to prepare for this year. With the added pressures of the Europa League and a desire to go deep into cup competitions (got to win some silverware after all!) I have bolstered the depth of the squad and kept very much to the Southampton model in doing so. The major transfer here is the outgoing Mohammed Elyounoussi for £50m to Newcastle (they've had an Italian tycoon takeover). Although Mohammed was an important player around the first team squad, I felt he was a replaceable asset with the players we have competing for that position. Incoming are Patrick Roberts, on a free from Man City, and Ruben Loftus-Cheek for a cut-price £8.25m deal from Chelsea. I'm very pleased with these two, as they add versatility and quality to the squad.

It has also been a window for goalkeepers. Wolves came in for a deadline offer for McCarthy of £16.5m and with Angus Gunn pushing him for a spot I thought this was a good offer. Tom Heaton comes in to provide first team cover to Gunn. Two other keepers were signed in the window. Freddie Woodman was picked up on a free just as 3rd choice cover, as were really lacking in depth. And lastly, newgen Angel Jaramillo, from the other Barcelona! As he does not have a work permit I have loaned him to new affiliate club Excelsior for the next 5 years...

Also outgoing is Vestergaard, who I finally offloaded to Krasnodar. The last incoming of note is Gary Young, a Scottish newgen from the states. I signed him a couple of years ago but it seems that his PA has dipped considerably since then so I have slight buyers remorse (especially as we are well covered in the forward department at youth level!). Oh well...

Tyler Adams and Josh Sims return to the squad to compete for places and with that I feel we are well prepared for the year ahead.

1532864107_Roberts2020.thumb.png.5dd0d0fbb08106782f25f16c25d251e4.png1824426546_Loftus-Cheek2020.thumb.png.b86c207e9a05797bab8530a9cd8b90be.png1561963426_Heaton2020.thumb.png.c2cd25140f274959665dfe18ca855182.png2145812341_Woodman2020.thumb.png.65f4ffbb02d0247297b1a7c45e4a83cf.png1660048633_Jaramillo2020.thumb.png.decfc8d8ba8b9f69a00305194d3b2ea4.png2104399015_Young2020.thumb.png.c8f3821189f88a75193d152ae03a486f.png

Tactical Approach

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The lop-sided 4-3-3 will still be the main approach, but I have developed two alternative shapes to play against better teams (as this is where we fell down again last year) - a 4-1-3-2 and a 4-4-2. I'll be running a counter-attacking strategy with these and tweaking as I go along. If anyone has any thoughts on player roles to use here please do let me know! I'm hoping that with the winter update now enforced we might have a little more luck with this approach. 

Pre-Season

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Pre-season could have been slightly better results wise. Nonetheless I feel it was productive. Last three draws were from a mixture of playing with the new tactics and playing weakened sides. One thing I've learned is that Sims might well be suited to the CM position. He played really well here against championship opposition in Bristol City, it has given me confidence to try him there in competitive fixtures.

I had a weird bug where my board arranged a training camp in China, prior to my players returning from holiday. I'd be interested to know if anyone else seen this?

Season Expectations

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As mentioned I want to compete on as many fronts as possible this year. At least a quarter final in the FA Cup or League Cup, and getting out of the group in the Europa League would be a good season as far as I'm concerned. With regards to the league I would like to qualify for Europe again, but won't be disappointed as long as we finish at least top half.

Thankfully the fixture list seems to have been as kind as it can be again and we have avoided any run of difficult fixtures. That said, August is a rather dense period for us this year... Anything between 20-25 points from the first three months will be a good run. Obviously the Europa League draw is yet to happen, so impossible to comment on that until it has taken place.

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October 2020

The 'yes this is still being updated' update.

Fixture Review

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Highlights: A really good start to the season goal-scoring wise, Callum Wilson has been on fire (more on that later)! We scored 4+ goals in half of all our games this period.

Lowlights: While handling teams of similar levels or below has not been anything of a challenge, we generally still find it difficult against the big boys. Defeats to Chelsea, Man City and Liverpool in the league have frustrated our progress. Also, being dumped out of the League cup in the 4th round on penalties to Man Utd (having come back from 2-0 down) was pretty gutting.

Overall:  I have mixed feelings. We have played well in many games and defensively capitulated in others. I should be pleased but I am frustrated at why we can't turn up against the better teams in the league.

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A somewhat mad start to the season see's Bournemouth (powered by Hwang Hee Chan and Josip Ilicic) top the table, with us in 5th. Last season's champions Liverpool have had something of a hangover but are fast on our tail.

Tactics

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As mentioned in the last post, I was toying with a 4-1-3-2 and although it offered a lot going forwards I could not seem to get the balance right at the back. These two shapes (4-4-1-1 and 4-1-4-1) are the latest versions I am toying with. If anyone has any suggestions as to good strategies to use in these games please feel free to let me know. I feel a visit to the tactics corner might be required.

Key Performers

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Summary: Callum Wilson has made an absolutely incredible start to this season, scoring 17 goals in 14 appearances and recording an average rating of 7.83 across all competitions. 16 of those goals have come in the league, where his average rating is currently 8.02 (see pic below)! Absolutely phenomenal numbers from our main man up front, I anticipate needing to fend off some bids come next transfer window (and fairly derisory ones at that knowing the AI...). It's not all been all been about Wilson though. James Ward-Prowse continues to post strong numbers and has made most appearances so far this season. Jan Bednarek has made the step up at centre back and now holds that position as his own. There have been some great performances from the young players, notably again from Jankewitz - but more about that in the next section.

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Youth Progress

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748503590_JankewitzOct2020.thumb.png.277c52d75eb489f8b9c55d44818b3f0e.png524430904_PanzoOct2020.thumb.png.7dcee3cde0592b6719be38660b9ea4dd.png832715916_FreemanOct2020.thumb.png.5eebb96febeefa02aab6263718aa43fe.png302856664_VokinsOct2020.thumb.png.e759052198f86e3722020033c8e214db.png565412146_ValeryOct2020.thumb.png.86538d0dd015fc00de277e7442542459.png520294681_AdamsOct2020.thumb.png.2ed0e31b694298b8e67792301ce17c1f.png

As mentioned, we have had some great performances from young players. The six highlighted here have all played roles, but none more-so than Jankewitz. I made a conscious effort this season to give him more games, and boy did he repay me, getting seven assists in his first five games of the season. Performances from the young man have wavered, but the only way to overcome inconsistency is by being afforded game time - so lets hope he gets out of this habit. Freeman and Vokins came in during the early games this year while full backs were struggling with injury, and they have certainly given me something to think about - proving that performances at this level are not beyond them. The return of players in the same positions has forced them back to the U23s for now, and one of those returning players is Yan Valery, who is now posting better figures than Cedric. Panzo has found it hard to get in the team ahead of Hoedt, but when he has he seems to be playing well. The only issue there is a lack of concentration, which has cost me goals. Tyler Adams often pays the price for his versatility, but in the games so far this season he's been getting time in his favoured central midfield position and doing quite well.

Upcoming Fixtures

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Another busy few months ahead, with more group stage matches to play. Man Utd are only just around the corner and I'm hoping we can exact some revenge for the League Cup defeat. Mostly though I'm hoping to progress in the Europa League, mainly for the adventure!

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Posted (edited)

Fun to read, I like the vision you have for the club. Keep it up!

Edited by Sysiphus

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January 2021

Fixture Review

Results.thumb.png.d7d719128f6af6fe1dbebbf2d2b56c7e.png

Lowlights:  Close to none! A 2-0 defeat to Man Utd was not the revenge I was hoping for, but I made some progress in developing an effective strategy against bigger teams. We are also conceding slightly more often than I'd like, but it's hard to complain given our prowess at the other end.

Highlights:  As you can see, we are unbeaten in nearly 3 months across the densest part of the season so far. Goals are not proving to be difficult to come by. The 1-0 win vs Chelsea was a victory for my newly developed 3-5-2 and certainly the most satisfying.

Overall: A phenomenal season so far. I think the fairy tale of the title is beyond us but a champions league spot could be within our grasp.

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As you would expect from that run of form, we are flying high and just two points off Man Utd who have a game in hand on us. We have a near-identical record with Luciano Spaletti's Man City, and a 10 point lead on 4th place Tottenham and 5th place Arsenal. All to play for and all to lose!

Key Performers

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Callum Wilson continues to lead the way with 27 goals in all comps and counting, but the real story here is with our young guns. Jonathon Panzo stepped up in the absence of Wesley Hoedt to post a 7.65 average rating from 15 games (a little more on him later). Wing backs Vokins and Valery have played with enormous confidence, and with Kieran Freeman also impressing I am tempted to try and find Cedric a way out of the club. James Ward-Prowse remains our captain fantastic and has most assists so far with 11. I also want to mention Josh Sims, who I have been playing out of position (at least according to the game) in central midfield to great effect, and Ruben Loftus-Cheek who has been terrific in cup competitions this year.

Only one player has struggled particularly so far, and that is Pierre Emile-Hojberg. My best guess is that I have had to rotate much more this season and he has struggled with inconsistent game time.

Tactics

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So here is my big team buster. An asymmetric 3-5-2, I can switch the sides of the WB and DW depending on where the opposition seem to play their inside forward (typically I find it is from the left, hence the setup I'm showing here). What I have found is that if I play two wing backs I do not have enough thrust on the counter attack, and by playing one in the wide midfield positions it offers much more going forwards without sacrificing much defensive stability. This was demonstrated in the 1-1 draw with Man City, where Matt Targett managed to secure us the equalising goal, cutting in from the left. I will continue to tinker, but I think I am onto a winner here.

Youth Progress

71382597_AdamsJan2021.thumb.png.bbbafd81af2c4389f05bf7e2fdbdddf7.png394255596_PanzoJan2021.thumb.png.e9c6a543ccaebe02f89657955c05354f.png1986086418_JankewitzJan2021.thumb.png.b961e488d65f0eb676f3830d00f57a56.png

In this update I just wanted to highlight these three guys Adams, Panzo and Jankewitz. All three have made the step up to being first team regulars this year, which I might have expected from Jankewitz but certainly not Adams and Panzo. In Adams' case the CM(d) position was one that I struggled to find someone who could perform in, but Adams has come in and made that spot his own. Panzo has developed massively in the first half of the season, but then lost his place to injury just as Wesley Hoedt came back into fitness. For Jankewitz's screenshot I have switched the attributes view to see how he has developed since the start of the game. Despite a somewhat weird drop in his determination, you can see how far the boy has come.

Transfers

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1780964221_PavesiJan2021.thumb.png.a394344f710100478cf69a2a90032724.png887141799_LeatemiaJan2021.thumb.png.9616950e516e5109935656cd03fc34ea.png

Not a great deal of business to talk about. Harrison Reed and Sam McQueen make long overdue exits after finding themselves surplus to requirements. A number of young players have been allowed to leave the club on early free transfers. Michael Obafemi was not quite up to premier league scratch so has returned to Wycombe where he was previously a prolific goal scorer.

In coming are two youngsters, Giordano Pavesi (Italian-American) and Dick Leatemia. Pavesi was a player I followed for a little while, being one of the random American newgens you can find across the start of the game. Leatemia was more of a spur of the moment purchase, but we have a little gap in the left back production line and I felt he was well worth the punt for £400k. Leatemia doesn't really fit the bill for the kind of player I set out to buy at the start of this save, Pavesi more so. The difficulty has been work permits, and this will only get more difficult with the incoming brexit rules.

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Before I get to that though, a quick bit of AI ******** to whinge about! Man Utd decide on the final day of the transfer window that they are in need of a 3rd choice goalkeeper, and so put in an absolutely derisory offer for my 1st choice - Angus Gunn. The move is rejected and Gunn is obviously furious about this. If this is something the AI has been coded to do (i.e. disrupt rival teams by putting in **** bids for their important players) then I must applaud the team responsible at SI, cause it's worked here to perfection. :mad:

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Brexit then. My scenario rules are:

  • Squad limits of 17 foreigners.
  • Irish players are treated as British.
  • Foreign players must earn £34.6k p/m to play in the premier league.
  • Under 23 years, foreign players must earn £13k p/m to play in youth or cup competitions, or go on loan.
    • I can have a maximum of 5 players that fit this category.
  • Players are exempt from these rules until they change clubs.

That shouldn't be too problematic. I have 10 players across all my squads that don't have a UK passport, so well within the 17 player limit. All first team players earn way over £34.6k p/m, and those rules don't apply to players I already have anyway. Three U23 players would be in violation of the £13k p/m stipulation, Alan Tchaptchet and the two players I just signed! I am pleased I manged to bring them in before the rules kicked in.

Upcoming Fixtures

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Here is the run to the end of the season as it stands. We drew Liverpool away in the FA cup (boo) so there goes any hopes of a nice easy run to the final. Standard Leige should be interesting opposition in the Europa League, I am hopeful of getting through these ties without too much fuss. After that it is another busy end of season. We still play reverse fixtures against Arsenal and Liverpool at home, then in early April the big one at Old Trafford. Thankfully they are all spaced out quite nicely.

Wish me luck!

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Quality run of results there. Think you can sustain the challenge for the title?

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4 hours ago, WillHoward42 said:

Quality run of results there. Think you can sustain the challenge for the title?

Hard to say really. Man Utd's squad is just absolutely ridiculous (I'll put a screenshot below), it'll be hard to keep pace and especially if we go deep into cup competitions.

Even if we don't, we should be able to secure champions league football and that will be an enormous achievement in itself. So I'm trying not to worry about the title really and just play each game as it comes!

897011063_ManUtdSquad.thumb.png.07e1624cdf39095f481055f9f0aeac0b.png

I mean it's a little top heavy, but bloody hell.

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As a fellow Saints fan, I'm obviously rooting for you!

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On 08/05/2019 at 16:08, kevhamster said:

As a fellow Saints fan, I'm obviously rooting for you!

Thanks dude!

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May 2021 - End of 3rd Season

League & FA Cup

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Liverpool away went as Liverpool away does. We took them to extra time having played with a man down for much of the game, but could not get over the line into penalties. No domestic cup glory for me this year!

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So, as for the league. We put in some good performances along the way, including a very credible draw at Old Trafford, but had something of a stuttering finish to the season.

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Nevertheless, we did just about enough to secure a runners up spot (even if it was only on goal difference in the end!). Chelsea finished the season strongly after appointing Guardiola and I suspect they will be a force to be reckoned with next season.

Highlights: Finishing the season with two wins to cement our runners up spot and the draw against Man Utd after going 2-1 down.

Lowlights: A fixture pileup in April left the squad fatigued and prevented us from taking full points from Leicester, West Ham and Wolves (who certainly feel like a bogey team for me at this point). 

Europa League

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A really fun Europa League campaign this. We conquered Belgium and Holland in the first two knockout rounds. We managed to concede 5 against Betis, but pulled back 2 late away goals. Into the semi-final against a really exciting Hamburg team and... well we wiped the floor with them! So, our European adventure has continued all the way to the final! Where we will face....!

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Ah.

Well I didn't want to win it anyway. :rolleyes:

I'll do an extra update for the final.

Season Review

Negatives: 

  • We conceded 48 goals this season, more than double the amount Man Utd conceded. That's where the league was lost this year.
  • Home form vs Away form. I took 40 points at home and 40 points away this season. Obviously a great return, but you would expect a slightly better ratio than 1:1 on home vs away.
  • We dropped points (7) in the final run in. This is likely due to having a fatigued squad from our European exploits.

Positives:

  • Goals! Lots of them! 93 in the league to be exact.
  • Defensive corner routine has worked a treat, conceding just two goals from corners in the league all year. This is in contrast to being 3rd worst in the league at this last season.
  • 0 penalties conceded in league all season.
  • Squad rotation, with all players getting opportunities. When little injuries picked up towards the end of the campaign, we had the cover we needed available.
  • Opportunities afforded to youth team players.

Tactics

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So my two styles are quite contradictory but they seem to work. The 4-3-3 is used in most games, where I feel we can take the game to our opponent. I also play with a mirrored variant from time to time. The 5-3-2 has become my strategy of choice for games against stronger teams. My plan from here is to use these tactics for a couple of seasons and try to get players who fit the moulds.

Key Performers

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We couldn't have done it without the goals of Wilson (39), Ings (24) and Jankewtiz (18). Ward-Prowse had another good season (7.27 avg rating), and Stuart Armstrong really stepped up when we needed him (7.34 avg rating, 10 goals, 12 assists). The biggest surprise however has been the performances of our younger players like Vokins at left back (7.44 avg rating from 14 starts) and Panzo at center back (7.38 avg rating). These guys have set themselves high bars for next season!

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And just to contrast some of these numbers in the league - Wilson strolled away with the top goalscorer prize with second place Mane 13 goals behind the pace.

Youth Progress

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This year's youth intake was another good one, although I have been flooded with yet more defenders! The most exciting players I have screen-shotted here.

One member of the intake is rather keen on blessing the rains down in Africa.

I'm not going to go back over the likes of Jankewitz and co. in this post, but one little development I would like to report is that Jankewitz and Panzo are now described as 'Wonderkids' :cool:

Summary

What a season - and it's not even over yet!

Next season the aim is to keep our place in the top 4 (although I feel that could be a stretch).

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Posted (edited)

The Final!

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So as per usual, I go into this with a 5-3-2 shape. We've warmed up for this with a match against the U23s a few days prior - otherwise we wouldn't have had a game for two and a half weeks going into the match.

Man Utd have their typically ferocious looking side out today. It's going to be a tough game.

The game starts well for us. We are passing it around nicely, controlling the possession. Valery is looking rusty at right back so I drop Ward Prowse deeper to help him out somewhat. The Man Utd players seem to know this and are giving him lots of attention.

But then, with 15 minutes played...

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Disaster. Panzo falls asleep and loses his man, Martial puts a peach of a cross in and all of a sudden it's 1-0.

To make matters worse, just 1 minute after the restart and Ward Prowse pulls up. Hojberg comes on to replace him.

The team continue to push on without their captain, but can't really create much.

Then all of a sudden Martial breaks away with the ball, fizzes it across the box. It comes out to Isco who puts a ball into the box towards Pogba and... Oh for ****s sake!

Hoedt has brought him down, it's a penalty.

Pogba smashes it home. 2-0. 25 minutes gone. Despair.

We somehow stumble our way through to half time, which feels like a miracle in itself. The team are clearly demoralised and to make things worse Wilson now has a groin strain.

I can't see anyway out of this other than to go for it, so we switch to the 4-3-3. That necessitates a shift in personal, and I use my final two substitutes after just 45 minutes. Panzo off for Redmond, and the knackered Wilson comes off for Jankewitz.

The game is much more stretched out now. We create some half chances. Danny Ings gets in around the far post with a header but it screws wide.

70 minutes played and now Valery is hobbling around. It's not that surprising, but without the option of a 4th sub, I leave him out there.

80 minutes played and Valery picks the ball up wide on the right. The ball goes in and, oh wait, Jankewitz is free at the far post here! He must score!

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Nope.

85 minutes are played, and finally we are put to bed. Isco swings in a corner. Dybala heads it towards goal. Tah pops up with the killer.

....

Disappointing doesn't quite capture it.

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All in all, it went pretty much as badly as it could have. It was key to keep them quiet early doors but the Rashford goal put us on the backfoot and we couldn't quite recover.

Lessons will be learned.

Edited by Saintmat

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Just a quick one to say really enjoying this thread. You've done some amazing work especially in developing the youngsters. Fantastic league campaign, although tough luck in the Europa final. United continue to be overrated in the game.

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Pre-Season 2020

Squad Changes

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The squad has not changed massively since last season, it has been a relatively quiet transfer window. My first objective was to ship out Cedric and Stephens. Cedric was turning 29 and Yan Valery had taken his first team spot, in the end I managed to squeeze Wolves out of £15m for him. A couple of seasons ago I was fending off bids double that, so it is a shame, but I am pleased he has left on my terms. I'd lost faith in Jack Stephens to put in the level of performance I needed, so another engineered move saw him go to Stoke. Incoming is just the one defender, Mouctar Diakhaby. He was not my first choice, but I am pleased nonetheless. He has good physical attributes, and should be able to give Bednarek a run for his spot. Jens Jonsson is a Swedish newgen I had my eye on for quite some time. Interest was increasing in the guy from big clubs, so it was the right time to make my move. We were lacking young left sided center backs (although seem to have far too many right sided ones!) so he fits the bill quite nicely.

In the absence of much transfer business, I set about trying to tie down current players to contracts. Lots of players were heading into the last year of their deals, and some players were not getting the sort of money that reflected their importance to the team. Panzo and Jankewitz were sorted out first, then Callum Wilson given a new three season deal. Our main and original midfielders of Ward Prowse, Hojberg, Lemina and Armstrong also get new contracts. Danny Ings and Matty Targett have been secured as well.

I'm really pleased with the balance in the squad at the moment. There doesn't feel to be any deadwood in the team, and not too much competition for places that players will get grouchy at not playing. The depth in the youth team is great (although much of it is out on loan), so were I to get injuries then I feel we could cope.

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Staff

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Garip Capin and Jens Lehmann join my coaching team, and I now have 4+ star coaching across the board!

Pre-Season

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Some great results across the board here, lots of goals scored. I was hoping Gent might put up more of a fight in our home friendly but alas no. Perhaps some stronger opposition would have been a better test.

Season Expectations

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So how to follow a season like the one I just had? I was seriously expecting the teams around me to strengthen in the window, and they certainly have. To reflect that I played quite conservatively in my points predictions ahead of this season, and I am aiming to get around 75 points. We have a tough start, with games against Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal consecutively. It's these matches that I have struggled with in previous seasons, so there is a challenge to be met there.

The champions league will also complicate things. If we make it through the group stage I may need to strengthen in January. We'll see.

Let's go!

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On 10/05/2019 at 21:12, karanhsingh said:

Just a quick one to say really enjoying this thread. You've done some amazing work especially in developing the youngsters. Fantastic league campaign, although tough luck in the Europa final. United continue to be overrated in the game.

 

On 10/05/2019 at 21:12, john1 said:

Gutted :( however, a superb season :applause:

Cheers guys! Sadly Man Utd have strengthened even further this season. They've only gone and signed Hazard now...

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Good luck! Yes it's always hard to compete with the top sides in England. I am finding the same. They set the bar very high.

How has Slattery developed? He seems to have good potential too.

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9 hours ago, karanhsingh said:

Good luck! Yes it's always hard to compete with the top sides in England. I am finding the same. They set the bar very high.

How has Slattery developed? He seems to have good potential too.

So he has been out on loan for the last couple of seasons in the Championship. He hasn't turned up trees but I am pleased with his progress. Going against him is that he has been hampered with a series of injuries during that time, and is competing for spots in a very strong part of the team. However I feel that his attributes now warrant giving him a try in the first team, so I will keep him around until January and judge his progress from there.

Screenshots provided for interest :)

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