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Joey Numbaz

FM19 - Returning Everton to Glory

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Posted (edited)

Lost in all of the crazy transfer stuff (see post 200), I almost forgot about the Community Shield!

That's because it was incredibly forgettable. We have 5 matches in 15 days from August 8 - August 22. So I decided to play a rotated squad for this one.


We lost 1-0. The squad hung tough and didn't get embarrassed by the best team in the world, playing their best, except for keeper.

Fernandinho picked up 90 more minutes to learn the system, as did Cillessen. I did sub in Digne, Pellegri, and Keane at 58' to try to snag an equalizer, but it wasn't to be. We get two more shots at these guys in the next month, we'll see how we do with our real players.


One good thing happened - Ecuador pulled off a massive upset, defeating Brazil, 0-0, 7-6(!) on penalties in the Olympics quarterfinal. So we get Richarlison back for opening day! He had a solid Olympics, starting all four games, scoring 3 goals, 3 dribbles/game and a 7.80 average rating. I am bummed for him not getting a medal. But such is life.

Tonali, Tousart and Aouar will all be getting medals. Italy is playing France in the final for gold.

Italy beat Germany 1-1, 8-7(!!) on penalties in the semi final. Tonali made the 6th penalty, good on him.

Tousart has been amazing for France, also averaging a 7.80 rating, starting all 5 games. he's got a goal, two assists (and he's a defense guy!), 89% passing, 93% tackles won.

Aouar has been similarly good over in Japan. started 4 of the 5 games, 2 assists, 7.45 rating. Should be a final final. I may watch it.


Edited by Joey Numbaz

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Posted (edited)

I haven't mentioned this before training wise, but here's something I do that I'm not sure everyone does.

Since I want my squad to be technically great, smart, and versatile as Club DNATM - everyone who isn't a keeper and isn't at least reasonable, every single player - trains to develop their weaker foot as soon as they join the club.

Edited by Joey Numbaz

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Posted (edited)

Opening day August 8, 2020 in London at Craven Cottage! Fulham is still up (barely) in this universe. Newly real life promoted Sheffield United is actually down in League One here. I can't go into this kind of detail for 38 matches, of course. But it's opening day! So let's share in the excitement, talk about our game and run around the league to set some expectations.

First our game.



Unfortunately, it was a whole bunch of meh. A scoreless draw.

We dominated the game, but nothing went in the net. Fulham did not have a single key pass. They made 16 mistakes. We had 9 key passes and only made 8 mistakes.

I think Gylfi, as much as I love him is probably going to have to start phasing back to a rotation option. He's good and all, but I feel like something is missing. The "problem" is that he's an incredible free kick taker, our best corner taker, and his long shots can change the game - it made a huge difference last year. But Aouar, Gravenberch, Tonali, and Davies are the future in terms of the attacking central midfielders. I think Gylfi as a supersub, especially when we need a goal around 55'-60' is going to be the plan. He's valued at £44M but I don't want to **** him off by trying to cash in. I hope someone just makes an offer this winter.

Big one coming up as Liverpool comes to Goodison in a few days. Which reminds me ... Level setting the league.

In terms of points last year:

Liverpool 92
Everton 88
United 74
City 71
Arsenal 68
Tottenham 68
Chelsea 66
Wolves 57
Watford 57
Newcastle 51
Villa 44
Southampton 42
Bournemouth 42
Cardiff 40
Brighton 39
Huddersfield 38
Fulham 38
(r)Leicester 37
(r)Swansea 35
(r)Middlesbrough 20


(p)Norwich 87
(p)Burnley 86
West Ham 85
Blackburn 80
(p)Leeds 78
Sunderland 74

That tells one  story. This tells another ... looking forward I trust divisions by goal differential a lot more than points.

Liverpool +66
Everton +48
United +38
Arsenal +33
City +31
Chelsea +16
Tottenham +14
Wolves +5
Watford -3
Villa -4
Newcastle -5
Southampton -16
(r)Leicester -19 (man did they get hosed - I hope they destroy the Championship and come back up)
Huddersfield -23
Bournemouth -24
Cardiff -24
Brighton -25
Fulham -29
(r)Swansea -34
(r)Middlesbrough -45


(p)Norwich +31
West Ham +29
(p)Burnley +28
(p)Leeds +27
Blackburn +21

Burnley spent a ton of money £49M. Leeds and Norwich spent around £25M each - Norwich sold off £11.5M to cover some of that though. We'll see how they turn out. They are all starting from a pretty similar base.


Just wanted to keep that in mind. Fulham kind of suck and are lucky they weren't relegated and we couldn't get a goal. Bummer.

Interesting results around the league.

Tottenham 6, Leeds 0
Liverpool 5, Watford 0

Wow, those guys might be pretty good. Spurs played a flat 3-4-3ST - Cook and André Gomes (9.2 rating :eek:) in the starting lineup right in the middle too. Leeds are newly promoted, but still, wowza. Tottenham is going to make me eat my words from those preseason odds.

Liverpool outshot Watford 39-9. 17 on target. Holy yikes. Watford finished 9th last year. And they looked to be better with their offseason moves. Liverpool looking like United in FM2018 ...

City 1, Chelsea 1 - Chelsea were 7th last year, but still with 66 points, not like they stunk. City dominated this game.
Burnley 0, United 2 - Nothing to see here, United outshot them 20-4, were up 2-0 after 20 minutes and cruised.
Aston Villa 0, Arsenal 1 - Villa hung in there. Game was dead even. Shots 10-10 and neither team had even a half chance. Arsenal just happened to have one land in the net. Not sure if this means Villa are getting pretty good or Arsenal are slipping. Remember Villa got off to a great start last year before fading to 11th with 44 points (the mid-table was small, with Villa joined by just Wolves (57), Watford (57) and Newcastle (51)). Villa added Adrien Silva, Jack Butland and Jamie Vardy this year and grabbed Danny Drinkwater on loan from Chelsea too. All started. Maybe someone to keep an eye on.

Edited by Joey Numbaz

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Posted (edited)

Ooh new statsy thing. I may give up on this after 2-3 weeks. I hope I don't :) This would be awesome stuff to know.

I'm going to try to track every Premier League game this year. Will note the following, to maybe run some regressions to do a sort of expected goals thing. Baseball Sabermetrician Bill James, the person who pretty much shaped how I think about the world (I started reading him when I was 11) has always said, start with counting things. Count everything you can. Figure out what matters later. But you won't know if it's important if you didn't bother to count it in the first place.

Shots Based xG
On Target
Off Target
Clear Cut Chances
Half Chances
Long Shots

Non-Shot Based xG
Free Kicks
Throw Ins

  1. Completed
  2. Not Completed
  • Defense
  • Midfield
  • Attack


  1. Completed
  2. Not Completed


  1. Won
  2. Not Won


  1. Won
  2. Not Won

Yellow Cards
Red Cards
Missed Penalties
Goals Allowed

And obviously we track goals and goals allowed.

I really wish there was a way to dump this stuff out without having to hand track it in a spreadsheet clicking into every game. The team level stats tracked in FM are extremely incomplete. I should be able to go to a team page and find all of this stuff easily.

I'm still not sure if I'm better off running the regressions on a game by game basis, or on a team/season basis. i.e. Do I have 38 entries for each team, or one entry for each team.

Edited by Joey Numbaz

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Posted (edited)

Here's what the spreadsheet looks like so far. Man, this data entry takes awhile. I don't know if I can maintain this for the whole season. But it would be unbelievable data to mine. Especially if you could turn it around and apply it to individual players.


And here is the screen I pull everything from. It has to be on one screen or it would exponentially increase the time to enter the data. Too bad we can't get total numbers for passes (not just %) for defense, midfield and attack. I manually add up the key passes, tackles, headers, dribbles, interceptions, and mistakes since SI doesn't total them anywhere that I'm aware of.

If anyone has ideas for better ways for me to get this data on a game by game (or even team by team) basis, please let me know!

Screen Shot 2019-05-07 at 5.38.45 PM.png

Edited by Joey Numbaz

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Posted (edited)

Sunuva ... I just lost everything. I had last saved my tactic and game before the Fulham game ... and as I was updating my tactic and saving it for the Liverpool game, the whole thing crashed.

Like right before the game, was just changing up the set piece takers and moving players around within the routine, because I was planning to start Dolberg as the Mezzala and Bernard as the left Inside Forward. I lost it all.

All of the data entry, except for the Huddersfield/Brighton, now kind of irrelevant. Well maybe not. They are still valid data points, but each team won't have exactly 38 entries if I keep those in the set.

All of the time it took to play through. All of the results from the last post are irrelvant. And a whole day's play is gone. Damnit.

I mean, yay, I get to replay the Fulham game I guess. But this is really annoying. I guess I have to go back to saving after every single game again.

Edited by Joey Numbaz

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Posted (edited)

OK, so I replayed the game and ... another 0-0 tie. Very similar game. So my thought that I need to change something seems obvious. This lack of scoring despite a bunch of shots does not appear to be a one off. Outshot them 15-4, they did get one key pass this time at least.


Changes need to be made. As I said earlier, the plan is to drop Dolberg from AML-IFs to MC-MEZa. I'm going to put Bernard, or maybe Lookman in as the AML-IFs. Siggy could be 60' sub if we need a goal.

Defensively we appear solid. I might move Ajer up to the CMR-CMa (where he should also be a defensive pressing force just naturally because he's awesome at all the things) and Tousart will come in as the DMR-HB. That's some extra size too for the set pieces.

Around the league it was a little different though!

Spurs only beat Leeds 1-0 - Lewis Cook was sent off at 62' - they did outshoot them 28-9 though.

Liverpool only beat Watford 1-0. Instead of 39-9, they only outshot Watford 26-4. But Watford didn't play more than half the game down a man either.

First Olympics Gold Medal Game - Italy 3, France 0. This one - France 2, Italy 0. Aouar and Tousart made the Olympic Dream Team in addition to taking home Gold Medals. Tonali gets a silver.

United went to Burnley and won 2-0 again. Outshot them 16-5 instead of 20-4, but similar result.

Arsenal 1, Villa 0 again. Shots 9-4 instead of 10-10. Arsenal's only goal came on a penalty.

City 4, Chelsea 4, wow! Shots were 13-13 this time. Chelsea played much better than in the first game, which was also a draw, but City dominated. City did get the better chances in this one too I guess, 3 CCC to 1. Chelsea was down 4-2 after a Dybala 73' goal, and then Giroud, and former City prospect Javairo Dilrosun scored to equalize at 86'. Quite a game.

Dilrosun is something. City bought him from Ajax for £240K as a 16 year old. Gave him to Hertha on a free after 4 years and he never played a game. Then after a year, Hertha sold him to Chelsea for ***£44M*** wow!

I have saved the game. So this is official fake history now.


Edited by Joey Numbaz

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Posted (edited)
45 minutes ago, Joey Numbaz said:

I'm going to put Bernard, or maybe Lookman in as the AML-IFs. Siggy could be 60' sub if we need a goal.

Uh, he's been gone on at the Olympics so long, I forgot Houssem Aouar existed. Kinda need to get my best player on the field.


He's not a natural out on the wing, but 1) he'll be an inside forward, 2) he's a classic support player, 3) he can finish and create.

But ... since I'm not trying to get Bernard or Lookman on the field (yet anyway), I don't need to move Dolberg, who is a much better IFs than MEZa. So Aouar is the Mezzala.

Another but. He's exhausted. Dangit. 76% on Monday and Liverpool is on Wednesday. Looks like he's only going to be a sub now for Liverpool.

Another Olympian I kind of forgot about there ... Sandro Tonali. So many players! But he's tired too. I'll have to think this through some more.

So at least for Liverpool, I won't be using an optimal lineup. Lemar, Van Dijk, Alexander-Arnold and Grimaldo are all exhausted for Liverpool at least. Dumb schedulers making this clash of the titans a Wednesday match during the season's first week, four days after the Olympics. Wow.

Edited by Joey Numbaz

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Posted (edited)

2020-21 Merseyside Derby II Electric Boogaloo is in the books.

We played pretty well. Outshot them 15-10, 9-8 on target. 2-2 CCC, 2-1 HC. 58% possession. We only had 3 long shots.

Unfortunately they scored and we did not. Mané outplayed Coleman for a loose ball, which eventually led to Golovin scoring into the lower right corner from the top of the box.

We definitely deserved something from the game. The breaks will even out. I hope.

Also, Pietro Pellegri is going to be out for 2-3 weeks, after straining knee ligaments. That is suboptimal, with the heavy early schedule. I can't lean on Dolberg too hard in his absence, as he gets hurt a lot.


City went to Bournemouth and won 5-1. United hosted Huddersfield and won 4-1. Tottenham won at Cardiff 4-1. Arsenal beat Southampton 2-0. Chelsea are off since they are playing Europa League qualifiers. The big squads are all putting distance between them and us. We only have a point and they have 4-6 already. Not good.

Leeds hosted Wolves and won 4-1. That's kind of interesting. The underlying stats don't really support that though. They just had a good finishing day.

The game is saved. Norwich, Tottenham, Wolves and City before the International break. And those that don't go international with play in the Eufa Super Cup, our 3rd match with Liverpool in 35 days.

Edited by Joey Numbaz

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Figured I'd update as we are in the midst of the international break. I decided to sell Gylfi. He's valued at £44M. No one will give me anything close to that. But he's due to to make £100K/wk for the next two years. I really don't have room for him to play. I'd rather give his minutes to Gravenberch, Tonali and Davies. Gylfi is best as an AMC - we don't use those anymore. He's 30.

So I took a £10M offer from Udinese, which will be effective New Year's Day.

We've been playing OK. Not bad, not great, but good enough. Beating the teams we should (except for Fulham), we drew with both Tottenham and City. We beat up Tottenham, but needed a 90' miracle from a Richarlison to Aouar link up to salvage a draw. Outshot them 18-9, 58% possession, only 4 long shots.


Similar story with City - we controlled them, but I wouldn't say we outplayed them . Got off to a great start with Dolberg nailing a direct free kick on 4'. But we couldn't hold them back forever. City only had 7 shots, but 4 were CCC. That's way too many. Defensively we are very prone to the counter. City scored at 62' and took the lead at 77'. But once again, we got our miracle, this time is was Yerry Mina's head assisting Tonali's goal off of a corner at 90+2'!


Then the UEFA Super Cup.

We had more of our top guys than Liverpool did. Here were the lineups:


We played great but again, couldn't find the back of the net, other than on a corner. So 1-1 head to ET.

And that was amazing fun. Pellegri scored 3 minutes into ET. But something called a Mike Hailes - I think he's a ghost player, I can't even scout him or see any ratings. Anyway, that guy scored for them 9 minutes later. Then Denis Zakaria got a 2nd yellow at 105+1. But we only had a man advantage for 5 minutes, because Tom Davies got hurt at 110. He's going to miss 2-4. weeks with a strained groin. Ouch.

So at 114 Ademola Lookman (a sub at 102) scored to give us the lead! We held on for the 3-2 win. Fun times! That was a £1M goal, the difference in the payout for winning vs. losing.


Here's the season so far:


It's a mixed bag, but we are getting there. The finishing is concerning me. So are the balls over the top on the counter. I need to figure something out there. I still can't tell if it's player or system.

Almost forgot, Champions League draw! We got a great draw. Since Liverpool won the CL last year, the second place team in the EPL gets a #1 seed. That's us! I assume we would have been a #3 seed other wise.


That's a pretty great draw.

Here's the league standings:


Huddersfield (3), Norwich (2) and Bournemouth (2) bring up the rear. Chelsea has only played 3 games, because of Europa League qualifying. So Burnley, Huddersfield and Bournemouth have one fewer game, but it's against Chelsea.

We are 7 points behind United, and 5 behind City for 4th. That's really not good. We will need to step things up.

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So only time for a quick update, but there may be a new sheriff in town.


They just beat Tottenham 7-1! Tottenham and City had the 2nd best goal differential heading into the weekend. Outshot them 26-10 too.

They added Milan Skriniar, Rúben Neves, and Nélson Semedo in the offseason. Sold off Anthony Martial, Phil Jones, Pedro and Sergio Romero. Loaned out Juan Mata, Nemanja Matic and a few others. Last year they added Eden Hazard and Kieran Tierney too. This is some team.

They look pretty unstoppable right now. They beat Liverpool 4-0.

The draw was 0-0 away to Villa, who held them to just 1 CCC and was only outshot 14-8. Villa had the ball for 59% of the game, which is interesting. This new tactic I am running (I have made tweaks) is very possession heavy.

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We've hit the 1/3 pole (13 matches in the books) and we are doing OK. I don't think we are making the leap to win the league this year. We are on pace to exactly match our 88 points from last year. Unfortunately United are on pace for 102 and Liverpool for 99.


I hate that my screen is cutting off the bottom 3 this year. Newcastle (8), Southampton (8) and Fulham (5) are in the relegation zone for those scoring at home.

Also, we are destroying the Champions League Group H.


We beat Genk 5-1, Leverkusen 1-0, and Lyon 5-2. We needed a late (82') goal from Tom Davies to win the Bayer game. But the team didn't quit. Against Lyon, we were down 2-0, 6 minutes in the game. We tied it up by 21'. Took the lead before halftime and cruised to a 5-2 win.

So the team is starting to click. Tactical familiarity is nearly complete. Happy Halloween, we are headed into November.


Our only loss for awhile had been to Norwich in the League Cup, and we played a skeleton crew. Lead 2-0, gave up goals at 79' and 80' and lost on penalties. Bummer, but we are grateful for the rest and feel invigorated by it.

Here's what is next ... 


The United game is the Saturday after the November international break. I am hoping they have more tired players than we do for that one. We have played the rest of the Super 7, so our point total may understate our standing.

We have seen a 64% decrease in injuries so far this year (56 total vs. 116 expected) - which is great. As I said earlier, nearly every day I change every player's intensity to follow the physio recommendations. But 18 year old 4-5 star prospect Jayden Hewitt was one of the casualties, he broke his ankle in the League Cup game. He'll be back sometime in late November or early December.

Ryan Gravenberch also got hurt, he twisted his ankle and missed 3 weeks back in September. What is it with the ankles of my best 18 year olds?

It looks like the kids are getting hurt more:





There is so much useful info in the Medical Centre. I need to start looking in here a lot more often. I'd imagine just keeping everyone healthy has at least something to do with my somewhat surprising results.

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Posted (edited)

BTW, those of you that read the tactics threads probably recognize my tactic as Cleon's WM ... His thread gave me some ideas for tweaks. It wasn't attacking enough. But with a few tweaks, especially what AndySummers did it's working much better with my players.

This is where we are at right now. I used most of Andy's switches. Kept the Anchorman on the left. Went with the BPDd - which has had some awesomeness in terms of my DC hitting the wingers with long passes. The NCB really didn't do that, of course. And my CBs can handle BPD duty.

Also, based on re-reading Cleon's Part 5, I think the RPM helps with possession and indirectly defense, it slows the game down (at the expense of his linking with some of the runners) - and the RPM acts somewhat like a Box2Box when out of possession. Something I never realized. Using a CMa is more attacking but the CMa gets less involved defensively.


Player wise, Ajer (blue) is everywhere. He's played some BPD, some HB, some RPM and MEZ. He's a poor man's Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (green) and even a little better defensively.


Milinkovic-Savic has just been a monster for Barcelona. £88M well spent for them. Also shows we still have a ways to go before we have truly great players here.

Edited by Joey Numbaz

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Posted (edited)

I forgot another big tweak. The BPD has close down less and mark tighter ticked. I just got sick of those balls over the top. It's helped. Although in the youth games I see it a lot more. Because my youth DCs aren't great. I really think you need a good player there. It's so important for the risk/reward of the tactic. The only other PIs are the AndySummers recommended WBs both sit narrower. I've thought about going with a cover duty instead of defend duty for the BPD also. But haven't pulled the trigger.


Edited by Joey Numbaz

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Posted (edited)

We are getting the can register up to X number of foreign players Brexit it looks like. Won't be official until June. In FM18 I had the hard Brexit, but made it work, just scouted the heck out of the UK for the U18s.

This might actually be better than the current setup, all of these cheap young South Americans that I've been scouting and adding to the shortlist ... pretty sweet!

Edited by Joey Numbaz

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Woo hoo!!!!!





What a freaking game. So much fun. And Dolberg's late goal was nothing less than we deserved. Both of United's goals came off the press. They are good. But we were better. At least on this day.

The winning goal on 90' was amazing, Pickford launched a bomb down the left side to Richarlison. He controlled it, dribbled to the byline, and delivered a perfect cross for Dolberg. De Gea never had a chance. United will not be invincible for 2020-21.

But it gets better, Wolves knocked off Liverpool 1-0 at Molineux!

So your table after 15 matches (on November 22):

Liverpool 12-2, 1 draw, 37 points +19
Manchester United 11-1, 3 draws, 36 points +29
Everton 11-1, 3 draws, 36 points +16

Then Tottenham (32), Manchester City (30), Arsenal (29, Wolves (23), Chelsea (21 - but with 3 games in hand, all against teams in the bottom half), Watford (21). No one else has more than 17.

This just might be a race after all.

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We have our Brexit rules. Not sure if I understand them fully, if someone wants to help explain that would be great. They take effect June 25, 2021.

Foreign players must make £8K/wk to play in league matches; £3K/wk for U23 players to play in youth or cup competitions, or be loaned from a team in a higher division. Does this also count U18s? or just U23s?

Irish players count as British for work permit rules.

So if I understand this correctly, I can sign whoever I want? Just can't play them as U23s or seniors without them making those wages?

And I can register up to 17 foreign players per season for the senior team. But if I can sign them young enough for them to be considered home grown in the UK, then they won't even count against the foreign limits? Am I missing anything?

Ah wait - since UK is not EU anymore, does that mean EU players can't join the club until the first transfer window after they turn 17 or 18 once this takes effect?

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Award season is here!

The Big One - Pietro Pellegri won the European Golden Boy!


The list of previous winners is pretty insane: Peńaloza, Ikoné, Mbappé, Sanches, Martial, Sterling, Pogba, Isco, Götze, Balotelli, Pata, Anderson, Agüero, Fàbregas, Messi, Rooney, van Der Vaart.


Coleman dedicated his Irish Players Player of the Year Award to me, which is pretty awesome!



Backup DL Antonee Robinson was the runner up for USA Young Player of the Year behind Pulisic.


There are rumors that Arsenal would sell de Ligt for £88M-£167M ... I may need to see if I can work some magic. If I could sell Mina and Keane for value, and structure the fee with a long term payout, I might be able to make some magic happen. Doubtful, but I am going to try.


Competitions wise, we actually moved into first place all alone for a week or so. But then we outshot Villa 17-4 and lost 2-0. And Merseyside Derby IV at Anfield was a disaster. We lost 3-0. It wasn't as bad as the score, but still a bummer. Here is where we stand on New Year's Eve 2020-21.


We ended up with 16 points in the Champions League Group, tied with Inter for the most of anyone. Our group was weak, but we destroyed it. I didn't even play full lineups in two of the games. We drew Atlético for the first knockout round. They are having an interesting season. They went 4-1-1 in Milan's Group, as a coincidence.


They've only lost 2x in La Liga and the Champions League, but also have 7 draws in 22 matches.


It was quite a run, we went through 23 matches with our only loss being a League Cup game where we started none of our normal lineup, several U23/U18s and lost on penalties after blowing a 2-0 lead in the 80 minute. But now we've lost 2 out of 4. Back to the grind.

The main thing with this tactic is that it's a little like Chelsea in real life 2018-19. We get tons of shots, but not many great chances. But the law of averages says enough will go in and they have. We have controlled possession. We get 58% per league game, best in the EPL. We are in a pack with the 4th best teams for total shots on target, but our conversion rate is only 12th best (8%) for all shots and even worse 14th (43%) for shots on target as a percentage of shots.

Defending wise, we don't give up much, 5th in goals against with just 16 allowed in 21 games, and two of the teams ahead of us have 2 games in hand still.

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Hi. Can you please upload your tactic for downloading? Would that be ok? I want to start a game with Everton as well. Thanks. 

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Posted (edited)

Ok, we are pushing through the season ... and it's going pretty well.  Our struggles have been draws at least. We drew 0-0 at Leeds; 1-1 at Atlético, 1-1 at Watford, 0-0 home vs. Atlético. That's right, Champions League quarterfinals! On away goals v. Atlético. Not bad!

Since beating us 3-0 though, Liverpool have had their struggles. They lost 2-1 at Brighton. 2-1 at Bayern. They drew 2-2 at Watford, 1-1 at Villa and they lost 1-0 to Chelsea at Anfield.

Oh man. I went to the Liverpool leg to at Anfield v. Bayern. That was craziness. They were leading 1-0 the whole game. Then at 90+4 Müller scored off of a rebound to push Bayern through. It was nuts. I actually kind of felt bad for Liverpool. Also, it sucks because now Liverpool won't be tired from Champions League games down the stretch and can focus on the Premier League.

United also have been great but disinvincible. They drew 1-1 home vs. Villa (I feel much less bad about our draw with the Villans now), got knocked out of the FA Cup by West Ham (14th in the Championship), 1-0. Lost 2-1 at Anfield, drew 1-1 with Spurs, lose 1-0 at City, Lost 1-0 at Leeds! Our draw with Leeds not so bad.

So here is where we stand on March 12, 2021:


So we control our destiny to win a real treble. And a quadruple if you count the Super Cup as a trophy.

We are 7 points behind Liverpool, but we have 3 games in hand.

We got some awful luck and drew United in the Champions League Quarterfinal. We could have gotten Porto or Hannover. Who are playing each other! We get Wolves in the FA Cup Quarterfinal.

So this happened. Check out this 5th round FA Cup game vs. City. We were losing 2-1 in the 84th minute when Richarlison went down. We'd used all of our subs. I went with this tactic. I pushed Digne from WBs to CWBa. I made the MEZa at CARs, since I had no left winger. I made the Anchor Man a DLP on Support. The Roaming Playmaker became a CMa.


It kinda worked.


Yeah, all we did was score a 90+4' equalizer. And then two goals in ET. We outscored Manchester City 3-0 over the last 42 minutes once we were down to 10 men.

It's been that kind of season.

Against Atlético the first game away was kind of crazy. Rodri got sent off for a second a yellow at 58' and Richarlison scored at 59' (it wasn't a penalty, he scored off of a great Pellegri pass). We were cruising. But it's a two legged game, so I didn't turn off the gas. We played our game, hoping to score again. Instead we gave up a shorthanded goal at 85' and went home 1-1, but with an away goal. And the home leg went scoreless. Never threatened, outshot them 15-5, but sweated it out until the 90+5.

We've had injuries, especially lately. Despite our 63% decrease in injuries, Richarlison missed the 2nd leg vs. Atlético and Ajer missed a couple of weeks and was a sub too. Fernandinho, at 35 years old and dropping physical attributes every month was still a great signing. He's been a great guy to rotate in vs. lesser opponents; to play in the 2nd half with a lead, cover when guys are hurt, etc. Here is where he's at now:


I've played him exclusively as an Anchor Man.

Anyway, the road is going to be hard from here out. We play Wolves home in the FA Cup 3 days after Atlético. We play Cardiff home in a very drawable game 3 days later. Which would hose up our 'lead' being 7 back, with 3 games in hand vs. Liverpool. But then we get our Spring Break. Remember all of those early August games? We'll have 2 and a half weeks off before we host Brighton. Then we are going to play United 3 games in a row, within 9 days. Champions League, Premier League, Champions League. That is craziness. Oh great and as I advanced a session, Yerry Mina just went down for 2-3 weeks.

We had a youth intake. It was just ok.


I haven't entered them in the spreadsheet yet, but that's an overview. Chalk was last year's intake, he's super young and might be a superstar. But he's got a lot of technical development ahead of him. Everyone else there is new.


Here's Griffin:


And Connolly. Funny, I went to college for a year (he was a senior when I was a freshman) with a Dan Connolly. He was at the first college party I ever went to and was a pretty nice guy.


This doesn't seem like a great youth intake. I am disappointed and might have to finally fire my Head of Youth Development.

Edited by Joey Numbaz

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I almost forgot the transfers! Only 2 in. But one is 17 and playing first team backup/rotation for Digne. He's a defensive DL. So nice to bring in with a lead, and gives Digne breathers. Welcome Alexander Gladrow to the squad:


He cost £10.25M. But hey, what else was I going to spend it on?

The other doesn't join until next season, but he might be great. Alessio Riccardi. I went to middle school with a Matt Riccardi. Alessio is recovering from a torn hammy, but come July he will be a nice help. Especially as Fernandinho ages out.


Riccardi was a last minute deadline day deal. He cost £7.25M.

We sold some guys. I got a bunch of money for Antonee Robinson. Like £12M. I got £14.25M for Mason Holgate. £2.9M for Kieran Dowell. And the £10M for Gylfi. Which was robbery against us. He was worth £40M. But I didn't need him. I wish him well at Udinese.

Edited by Joey Numbaz

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So I was worried about the FA Cup 6th round vs. Wolves. 3 days after the Atlético second leg, and I have to play a rotated squad, because we've got a league game with Cardiff Tuesday and we could win the league. I need to be full strength. Not to mention that Mina, Bernard, and Richarlison are out, Ajer is still coming back from injury and not 100% fit.

Here's the lineup we went with. Gravenberch has been playing as a right winger. He's such a creative, fun player. But like Dolberg, he's injury prone, so I need to be careful with him.


Gladrow got the start over Digne. Fernandino and Davies instead of Ajer and Tonali. Hernandez instead of Dolberg or Pellegri (who has been playing the Mezzala role a lot). Even on the bench, I gave Mario Ferreira a spot to keep me from being tempted to play Dolberg or Pellegri if we were losing. I picked him up for £450K from Guimarães in the summer of 2019.


Pedro Justiniano was one of my first signings, for £3.5M from Juventus back in January 2019.


He's 20 now, and I'm not sure if he's going to make it. I'd probably play Ajer at DC and Davies in the midfield before I'd start Justiniano. But he needs some experience if he'll ever develop more. So why not give him a bench spot in the FA Cup too?

Well, they both got to play, because we beat the holy hell out of Wolves with that rotated squad!



Which reminds me, Cucho Hernandez has really been solid. He's netted 3 goals in 3 FA Cup games now. He's had 2 starts and 2 subs in the Champions League and put up a 7.47 rating with 2 goals, 60% of his shots on target too. He only cost me £5M from Watford in January of 2020 and he turns 22 in a month. That's around the time where the scouting potential uncertainty tends to disappear for my own players it seems like, right now he's still got the 4-5 star tag.


This team is really coming together. I love the versatility of the players. The three big trophies are all still in play!

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The U18s have had an amazing season.

We are into the UEFA Youth League Quarterfinals, where we play Atlético in a couple of days. Beat Barcelona 3-1 in the round of 16. That league has a cutoff that is 9 months older than the English U18, and you can have 3 players that are a year older than that playing too.

The U18 Premier League North has been a cakewalk. We clinched it after just 19 of 22 games.


Arsenal dominated the South, they also clinched early and are +29 in goal difference. That final should be a fun game.

Derby knocked us out early in the FA Youth Cup. We outshot them 19-8 and lost 2-1 on goals allowed at 81' and 90+2'. And I messed up and forgot to set the lineup for that game, so several nothing great prospects played. That was annoying.

We made the semi-final of the U18 Premier League Cup, losing to Arsenal 2-2, 4-3 on penalties. We outshot them 22-9. CCC were 4-1 and we had 59% possession. We went up 2-1 at 105+2 and then blew it at 120+1 after Alexis Bentley (see the top of the list below) was sent off with his second yellow card at 112'. Was probably a great game to watch!

There's a lot of talent down on Finch Farm.



The U23s have struggled though. With 5 games to go, we are only 7 points ahead of relegation, which is crazy. It's probably the worst U23 performance I've ever had.


That being said, we did make the semifinals of the EFL Trophy Northern Section, lost 1-0 to United, but dominated the game and lost on a 90' penalty.

We crushed the group in the Premier League Cup, 4-0, 2 draws, +10. We get Leicester in the round of 16.

In the Premier League International Cup, we finished second in the group to Brighton. Only 1 advances. 


Edited by Joey Numbaz

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Oh wow. It looks like Barcelona is willing to sell Sergej Milinkovic-Savic for £88M-£124M ... I might be able to swing something like that this summer, if they'll accept a structured deal, like where I backload installments, maybe pay a big amount after 50 games player, etc. This could get interesting.

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For the FA Cup Semifinal, we draw Tottenham, April 3 at Wembley. The other semi features Watford and Liverpool.

Remember the part where I was worried about drawing with Cardiff? They played a deep defensive 4-2DM-2WM-1-1. I was nervous about breaking them down.

We started a nearly full strength lineup this time.


Yerry Mina is the only starter out, but he and Keane are virtually interchangable. Look at all of those lines connecting the midfield square! I need Ajer and Tonali to play a little bit more together.

This was the result:



Three of that mess of shots went in the net. Actually, only two went in the net, we had a keeper own goal too. But that was mainly because Pellegri was right on top of the keeper as the pass was coming in.

We are on fire!

Here is where we stand on St. Patrick's Day, heading into Spring Break. We have 17 days off before the FA Cup Semifinal against Spurs at Wembley. With possibly 4 additional games thrown into the mix (Champions League semi and final, FA Cup final).


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Looks like after the break we are playing two games a week the rest of the way. No way we win all of these things. Arsenal and Chelsea are away too. But I'm excited to see what happens 

I am wondering with 17 days off if I should give the whole team a week holiday, then we hit training hard for 10 days. Gotta do some research and see if that makes sense. I think realistically it makes sense, but not sure if in the game it would hurt sharpness too much.

Edited by Joey Numbaz

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And the kids are through, on to the UEFA Youth League Semifinals, with a dominating 1-0 victory at Athlético.


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After 17 days off, we went to Wembley to play Tottenham in the FA Cup semifinal. It was quite the spectacle. Earlier in the day, Watford knocked off Liverpool 2-1 in Extra Time to earn the first ticket to the final.

I had a lot to think of with lineup selection. We play United Tuesday, Saturday, and the following Wednesday, Champions League, Premier League, Champions League.

To make things even worse, United is off this weekend. So they will be fresh (let's hope that's rusty) for Tuesday's game.


I rested a bunch of players. I cannot have Digne out for the league United game next Saturday, and he is one yellow away from a 2-game domestic suspension. So 17-year old Alexander Gladrow, welcome to the big time.

It's a good lineup, but not near my best. But hey come on lads, it's Tottenham.

Spurs got off to the better start, but we held tough, and they really didn't have many good shots. Then disaster struck. Tom Davies went in spikes up in the 50th minute and was given a deserved straight red card.

This was our first red card of the season! So I went to my 10-man tactic posted up the page some. It was a mess. Richarlison subbed out Bernard, who got hurt, at halftime. So I had to make him the CMa (he has no circle at all for CM), while making Aouar the Carrilero. Fernandino had to play DLPs instead of Anchorman. Gladrow had to become a CWBa. He's a defender first. The guy is a great prospect, but he has 4 flair and 10 crossing. Keane dropped back to cover.

Around 80' Spurs went all out, 3 strikers. I didn't change. We made it to extra time scoreless. More subs, Ajer came on for Coleman, who was exhausted, as the right wing back. He's a great defender and I'm happy to get to penalties. Our 4th sub was Mina in for Keane for a fresh guy in the middle.

What a crazy game.

Early in ET we are camping and passing it around outside the area. So many short passes. Much lower tempo. Then Aouar gets in the middle, and threads a picture perfect killer pass ...


... to Richarlison. Who does this with it:


We are up 1-0!

Also, whose idea was it for both teams to wear white jerseys?

They were teeing off on Pickford. 12 shots on target, 6 clear cut chances in total. 3 times in the 2nd half of ET Pickford saved point blank one vs. one shots on over the top balls. It was amazing. Tottenham had 19! corners. 19! They were offsides 14 times! That's one heckuva and offsides trap our WB/CB/WB back line has I guess.

Thankfully Harry Kane was pulled at 85' after a 6.3 performance, and 19 year old Troy Parrott was one of the three strikers.

Gladrow was amazing defensively, he put up an 8.4 rating, 8 interceptions, only 2 fouls, 6 key headers, he blocked 2 shots. 4 key passes too. He ran 10.6 miles. That's a whole lot of kilometers. Or kilometres. Not bad for a 17-year old.


So we are on to the final. A 1-0 10-man miracle at Wembley.

Let's hope that momentum carries us through against United these next 3 games. The first two are at Old Trafford.

By the way, Davies accepted his two-weeks' salary fine.

McCartney vs. Elton John is a rematch of the 1984 FA Cup Final too. Won by the Fightin' McCartneys.

Edited by Joey Numbaz

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Pretty interesting for a team that has scored 78 goals in 32 matches, 9 more than anyone else, with a game in hand to boot.


Also, despite the game taking place on April 6, 2021 - the forecast is for heavy snow and 27 US degrees weather. That's cold. I wonder if I should do anything with my tactic for that weather? I think it might kind of be awful for my low tempo short passing game. And we already have an issue with balls over the top, no idea if Mina will be able to turn and run back in the snow.

And we really need to snag an away goal or two in this one. Normally, I just play how I play, but this might be one where tweaks are needed.

Edited by Joey Numbaz

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Loving the detail of all of this, consider me a follower!

Not sure how I could commit so much time to it myself though, once the season starts for me, I'm speeding through the season 😂 I think it's just pre-season really that I spend a bit of time on, making sure the team is up to standard and readying them for the season ahead! 

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4 hours ago, oakesypvfc said:

Loving the detail of all of this, consider me a follower!

Not sure how I could commit so much time to it myself though, once the season starts for me, I'm speeding through the season 😂 I think it's just pre-season really that I spend a bit of time on, making sure the team is up to standard and readying them for the season ahead! 


I pretty much only play one save per FM version. But I go super detailed. I load every possible league, and set them all to play with the full match engine. The sim for each Saturday afternoon probably takes like half an hour ... but it's super detailed and fun for me that way. So I guess my writing style is the same!

I work from home a lot, so FM can run in the background while I am working. I don't think this level of detail would be possible without that advantage. Or a 12-core Mac Pro trash can computer for like $10K.

Edited by Joey Numbaz

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So the United series. 3 games in 9 days. Champions League Quarterfinals, lots to cover here. I've. been playing, not posting!

The first game was a tough one. We hung in there against a very solid defense first minded United team playing in a 4-1-4-1 DM. We outshot them 11-5. Had 61% possession. They had 5 yellow cards, we only had 2.

Unfortunately, we only managed 2 of our 11 shots on target. 9 were long shots. They shut us down. And in the 56th minute, Lukaku split Keane and Digne, and Hazard hit him with a long pass up the middle. Despite the attempt to close him down as he got into the box, former Evertonian Romelu Lukaku was able to shoot a rocket past Pickford, and United won 1-0. No away goal for us. Pretty awful result.


A few days later we played United in the league. This was a crucial game, also at Old Trafford. Entering the days action Everton had 71 points from 30 games. United had 72 through 32 games. Liverpool had 75 points from 32 games. So we are in control of our own destiny to win the league, despite being in 3rd place. Even with a draw, we'd be in good shape. This time they played a more traditional 4-1-2-3 DM Wide.

It looked like we would get our draw. But they hit us on the counter as we were threatening to score. And we lost 1-0. We outshot them 21-5. 13-3 on target. 61% possession again. Just awful. Ugh. And Liverpool beat Wolves 2-0.

Liverpool 78 from 33
United 75 from 33
Everton 71 from 31

So we are still in it, but this is going to be much tougher.


Moving on to leg 2 of the Champions League quarter final. This time we get them at Goodison Park. Where Apollo Creed's son fought Pretty Rocky Conlan here! So much history in this venue!


Another solid performance from the boys, as United again show up with a 4-1-4-1DM. On the whole we outshot them 19-9. 9-7 on target. 'Only' 58% possession.

And this time we finally scored! A penalty on 38' evened up the tie. We'll take it.

On to extra time. Still tied in the 101' when Almamy Touré crossed one in for Cucho Hernández! The ball bounced around in the muck. And somehow it goes into De Gea's net!! An own goal for Victor Lindelöf!! We'll take it.

At 105+3 Rashford goes down injured. Now it's 11 against 10. We hold on, and head to the Champions League semi-finals on a penalty and an own goal! The magical season continues.


As for the rest of the Champions League, here is your bracket.


Kind of crazy. Porto and Bayer Leverkusen are in the semis. Along with PSG. PSG, you might remember, lost to Liverpool 2-1 in the final last year. You probably don't remember, since I didn't tell you, but Porto was also in the semifinal, losing 6-2 to PSG. This is two years in a row for them. And the year before they lost in the first knockout round - to PSG (3-1).

So hopefully they would meet again. Leverkusen are currently 15th in the Bundesliga. Just one point ahead of SC Paderborn in the relegation fight. Has anyone ever won the Champions League while getting relegated? That's rhetorical.

So of course, we draw PSG. Ick.

I've played some more, but this is all I can post for now. Stay tuned ...

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So 3 routine league games. Unfortunately just 7 points after a scoreless draw at the Emirates. It was an even game. They also played a 4-1-4-1DM against us, at home. At least that time 8 of our 9 shots came from inside the box. Only 2 were on target.

That was sandwiched by a 2-0 win over Burnley and a 3-1 win at Huddersfield. United is finishing up strong. They won three more after beating us, including a 3-0 v. Arsenal at Old Trafford. Liverpool hit a snag with a scoreless draw at City.

So here's the table:


If everyone maxes out their points, It'll be Liverpool 91, United 90, Everton 90. So this is tight. Just one draw for each of them and we can win it.

We still have Brighton and Villa at home, then Southampton away on the season's final day, May 9. Except that's not the final day. We have so many matches now, including the FA Cup Final, that we won't play our make-up game with Chelsea until May 22, at Stamford Bridge. And they might be playing for a spot in the Champions League that day.

United finish up at Brighton and then get Chelsea at home. Maybe they draw one of those.

Liverpool play away to Spurs and Leeds, then end the season against Cardiff at Anfield. Come. On. You. Spurs.

Up next, the first leg of the Champions League Semifinal from Paris.

Edited by Joey Numbaz

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First, this schedule down the stretch is insane. A nice 17 day break, and then this bonkersiness:


Is that really what would happen? Or is there some kind of glitch in the way FM schedules these things.

Having to play two league games in the middle of my Champions League semifinal tie? Really? We've been playing 2 games a week for 3 weeks (7 games in 22 days).

Then we play Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday-Wednesday?! Good God man. That can't be how the Premier League would handle that. Would it be? I mean look at this 'training' plan for the last 2 weeks of the season.


Here was the month before that:


Why is the season not ending May 16, with FA Cup May 22 and Champions League Final May 29? That would give an entire extra week for us to get these games in.

Another hard fought tie. Unlike United, these guys did not come out parking the bus. They were moving the ball and attacking. Just like Lukaku's leg 1 goal, Patrik Schick  moved into the space that opened up between Keane and Digne as the line shift left to cover the wing play. A perfect ball in and PSG was up 1-0 in minute 7. Yikes.

Adjustment was needed. We tightened up. The wing backs became fullbacks. The complete forward support became a pressing forward defend (this might have been a mistake, probably should have kept him at support). The roaming playmaker became a deep lying playmaker and the Mezzala went from attack to support. The entire back five we told to press less. In possession we went from lower to much lower tempo and decided to play for set pieces. The defensive line moved back to normal and the line of engagement moved from high to low. Also, no more counter press. If we lose possession, we regroup. The halfback was told to take fewer risks.

Did it work? Kind of? Maybe?


They didn't score any more. But neither did we. So another 1-0 away first leg loss. We'll have to be at our best at Goodison next week. After playing two more games as well. PSG at least play Monaco Saturday.

So I don't know what to do now. Do I pursue the unlikely quest of winning the Premier League? Or do I run the best non-starting players I can out there for the two midweek matches (both at home at least) and devote everything to getting the best players ready for PSG at Goodison next Wednesday. I think I'm leaning towards the latter.

So I looked it up. We've been pretty unstoppable at home it feels like.

We drew the home opener back on August 8 against Fulham, a disaster in retrospect. EDIT - that was actually at Craven Cottage, which makes me feel a little better about it.

Then we lost to Liverpool 1-0. And drew with Spurs, 1-1. Then we drew with City 2-2. All of that was in August.

Since then, we are 21-0, with 1 draw at Goodison Park (the second leg 0-0 game vs. Atlético, that sent us to the quarterfinals)

We've got wins over Chelsea, City, Arsenal, United (twice!), Leverkusen (who stink but are in the semi's of the Champions League) and Lyon in there. It's not exactly a weak schedule.

So maybe the rotated squad can win two more at Goodison against decent (8th and 10th) Premier League teams.

Fingers crossed emoji goes here.

Edited by Joey Numbaz

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Remember how we need Tottenham to beat Liverpool? Liverpool 6, Tottenham 1. At New White Hart Lane or whatever they call that place. Come on you Spurs, you've got to do better than that.

So here is our lineup for the Thursday game against Brighton. In this view, you can see it's not too terrible. Gladrow is such a defensive left back that he's fine as a halfback. Digne isn't that tired since Gladrow played the last 30 minutes against PSG. Plus he's due for a two game suspension after the next yellow. He's probably not playing Saturday anyway, and I'd rather him miss the Southampton game than the FA Cup Final or the Chelsea game. So if he gets a yellow here, I can live with it. To be honest, I might turn on hard tackling just to get that over with so he's guaranteed for Watford and Chelsea.


Here's what it looks like tactically:


This is actually a good exercise to go through. I will see how deep I truly need to be to get through a season where we try to win all the things. I am so happy I signed Gladrow, he's been really, really good.

Digne is my long throw guy, and half the time he takes a designed set play long throw even from the right side. At 31' it didn't directly work out, but after the ball was passed around a bit, Digne still on the right launches a perfect deep cross which Cucho heads in!

Jayden Hewitt - remember him? Wonderkid midfielder I signed? I forgot to mention, he started as a rotation option in the Burnley game. He scored a goal off of a direct free kick. He's a 16 free kick taker. Well guess what, before halftime he scores one here too! Not bad for an 18 year old. 2-0 at halftime. Which means I can maybe sub some guys out for rest if we hold it a little longer. I switched to the much lower tempo safe tactic at halftime. Mainly to save energy. Practicing the different marking doesn't hurt either.

Hewitt, who also played Monday in the UEFA Youth League Final, is down to 73% at 57' so he comes out. I want him to play Saturday too if possible. Justiniano comes in as the anchor man. He's not even rated there. Man, fingers are crossed we don't blow this. This is some needle to try and thread.

Yikes. We make it to 79' still up 2-0, and Cucho pulls his groin. Dang it. He needs to eat minutes. And I have to burn a sub I wanted to use on someone else. And still no yellow card for Digne.

So now I have to get creative. Yerry Mina is playing pressing forward. I have two 17 year olds playing Anchor Man and Halfback. I need to get Fernandino out so he can maybe play against Villa. So 20 year old Lewis Gibson comes in for left back and Lucas Digne is going to be a BWM to try to get that yellow card. His getting a card here would ensure he can play both Watford and Chelsea. If he doesn't get one here, and gets one vs. Watford, he can't play vs. Chelsea. This is what we look like now:


Look at this shot from 94'. I'd say we are being pretty cautious.



We did it! Outshot them 16-6. A 2-0 win on one day of rest. The dream is still alive! Hewitt has played 3 Premier League games. He has two direct free kick goals and two Man of the Match Awards. Also, we have officially made the 2021-22 Champions League. Yay us.

The only sadness is no yellow card for Digne. And the groin for Hernandez. He'll be out only 5-7 days though. Day after tomorrow, it's Aston Villa.

Edited by Joey Numbaz

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Ooh ... we've got an initial transfer budget. £73.68M. I can make that work. Especially if I can sell Bernard, Keane or Mina, and maybe Nikola Vlasic, we could have a lot of money to play with. I want either Milinkovic-Savic or de Ligt. I could settle maybe for Pavard (there are rumors Arsenal will sell). But I need a monster DC.

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I went with a much better lineup vs. Villa than I thought I would. Plenty of stats in this view for you guys too.


The players were not as tired as I expected. And we do have 3 days off before the PSG game at Goodison.

We completely dominated Villa, despite only winning 1-0. We hit the post 3 times, but two of them were on one play that resulted in a goal anyway. Dolberg hit posts with two of his direct free kicks. He hasn't scored in forever and the press are starting to harp on it. He hasn't had a goal or an assist since March 6. That's 8 games for him now. He did score 4 against the Faroe Islands on March 25 and another vs. Georgia on March 28.

Shots were 23-3, 9-1 on target, 57% possession. A solid win.

Digne only played the first half, and didn't get a card, whew. Gladrow played the second half. I was able to get Tousart out at 80' so hopefully he's rested enough.

So on this home streak, where we are now 23-0 with one draw, we have outscored our opponents 59-11. That's kind of crazy. We have now had 8 clean sheets in a row at Goodison. We haven't given up a goal at home since the 4-2 ET win against City in the FA Cup 5th Round back on February 20. That's also the last time we gave up more than 1 goal in a game anywhere.

Hopefully we can extend the clean sheet streak in a couple of days!

And a bummer, Liverpool was down 1-0 at Leeds but Mo Salah scored at 66' and 84'. It's up to Cardiff to go to Anfield and at least get a draw, or Liverpool will repeat as EPL Champions.

Edited by Joey Numbaz

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Posted (edited)

My scout's view of how PSG will line up:


Neymar needs a rest, and is only at 90% the day of the game. He has 23 assists and 14 goals. No one else has more than 9 assists for them. Mbappé and Schick are the big scorers with 26 and 23 goals respectively.

So we the day before the game we are practicing penalties, attacking movement, and match preview. How does Ademola Lookman pull an abdominal muscle while lifting weights? His additional focus is attacking movement.

Porto defeats Leverkusen, 1-0, 4-2 on aggregate, they are headed to the Johan Cruijff ArenA May 29. This will be their 3rd Final. They won the tournament in 1986-87 and 2003-04.

Our lineup for the biggest game of my tenure:


That's the best I can put out there. I am torn on Keane or Mina.


Keane has the better mentals, is surprisingly more physical and more technical. Mina has that height and is faster and more attacking. The stats are close. Here are how their attributes stack up for me:


BPD is just the ball-playing part of ball playing defendering. That additional attributes required of a BPD compared with just a CD.

I am still torn on whether or not I like the cover or defend duty for the CD in my system. So I've changed it up some.

As if we needed more incentive, making the Champions League Final will get us an extra £13.5M. We'd get £3.6M more for winning it.


Went with the passionate, "We owe PSG after what happened in our last match, go out there and get revenge!" Team talk. Not a bad reaction:


Pickford, Mina, and Aouar got the I have faith in you individual talk, which motivated Mina and made Pickford and Aouar happy. It's go time!

15 minutes in, and we have the only 3 shots in the game. Mina is anxious. I don't like that.

27', this is what you dream of after breaking the press ...


Tonali hits Aouar to his right, but he shoots it on the wrong side of the bar. Ugh.

We've outshot them 10-4 at halftime. 4-1 on target. 2-0 half chances. 55% possession. 0 goals.

Mina is very frustrated. He was anxious earlier. I am really thinking about subbing him, but don't want to burn a sub when we still need a goal.

Digne is still on hard tackling, I forgot to turn it off. But I guess that's OK.

The players look ready to walk through walls as they head out for the second half.

LOL, I just got an alert on my watch that my heart rate is over 100 for the last 10 minutes. I wonder why?

Then this happens, 50'. Look at that pass from Tonali to Pellegri, the Italian Stallions!


Unfortunately, Pellegri takes that clear cut chance and shoots it right into Manuel Neuer's gut. Jeez.


No more highlight (on key highlights) until 68'. I need to think sub here. But I also need to think about having my best penalty takers on the field too if we can get a goal. Dolberg is the only good taker I have on the bench.

Gravenberch is anxious. And down to 77%. And a bad penalty taker (7). At some point I'll have to make that sub.

Tonali, Touré, and Pickford are having great games. I guess I am going to pull the trigger, Dolberg in, Gravenberch out. I have faith in you Kasper. Even though you haven't scored for us in 2 months. He looks happy.

I tell the team to get creative. Time is running out. Everyone is inspired by the feedback. Except for Kasper. He is composed.

80' we are moving the ball around our half. Then Mina plays a ball deep! It's headed away, but right to Tonali. Who starts running with Pellegri ... who launches one deep for Richarlison, I have a good feeling here! I am typing this as the game is paused here. I have no idea what will happen ...


To be continued ... by 9.77 MB is about up ...


Edited by Joey Numbaz

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Posted (edited)

Richarlison with an amazing first touch as the ball hits him the chest!

He dribbles to the byline!

Crosses it to a charging Dolberg!


Who heads it right to Neuer. Come on dude.


But Neuer doesn't actually catch that weak sauce, he pushes to the ground! Kasper never gives up!


The ball bounces out of that scrum, 

And Pellegri is right there!


And this shot ends up in the net!


We are all tied up!

Shots are 17-12, 9-6 on target, 2-0 CCC, 2-2 HC, 55-45 possession. We've been the better team.

Less than a minute later, Tonali plays a great ball to Richarlison, who hits Pellegri running at the top of the box, but he launches our 3rd clear cut chance over the bar. Damnit.

I feel like I need to make a sub. I think Keane needs to come in for Mina. Then this happens:

Screen Shot 2019-06-15 at 2.20.14 PM.png

Somehow Pickford saves a bullet off of Cavani's foot for a corner. Yeah. Keane is coming in.

And that's it for regulation. We are off to extra time.

It's time for everyone to dig in and give everything you've got left tonight, we deserve to win this match, so let's go and do it. 8 of the 11 players look to gain confidence, everyone but the back three. I tell them I am very happy with their performance. Touré is happy, Keane listened nervously and Digne lost focus. WTF?!

My chest and left arm are burning a little. pulse is down to 88 at least (resting I'm usually around 60).

There is no fourth substitution in ET here. So I have one left. Maybe Davies for Tonali. Both are 8 for PKs, and Tonali is at 68%. Davies would be a good Mezzala and Aouar can shift over to the RPM. Yeah, that's what we do.

Also, I am hoping his little player talk will fix Digne and Keane. I tell Davies I have faith, get out there and make a difference. Keane and Digne are now happy. Touré listened passionately. All is well again. They are ready to walk through walls.

Extra time begins.




Edited by Joey Numbaz

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It does not begin well. PSG get a corner, which is cleared, but Mbappé ends up getting a lose ball in the box off of a tackle and shoots point blank at Pickford. Saved. That's their second CCC. Yikes.

The only other highlight from the first half of ET was us nearly scoring off of a corner. 15 minutes left. Here's the fatigue/body language situation:


Keane being nervous is suboptimal. I'll give him the no pressure shout in a minute. Not that that ever seems to do anything. It doesn't this time either.

5 minutes left. I demand more from everyone else.

119' highlight. we pass it around for 40 seconds ... then Tousart with the ball ... over to Ajer ... back to Tousart 


That's Digne running at the top of the picture. Tousart lofts one to him ... here is the cross ...


I was literally right here when I paused to write this. Then my 7 year old daughter came into the room. She just got home, and was telling me about her day at a farm park thing where she did some time on a ninja warrior course and was scraped up in 4 different places. Tough kid.


I still don't know what happens! Oooohhh the suspense? Is it a goal? Or a save?



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Posted (edited)

Dangit. It was a save.

We are now at 120:05 ... here's the scene.


And we slow it down. Nothing happens. We are off to penalties.

For a chance at the Champions League Final, PKs it is. Here is how we line up, it's not great:


Everyone mentally looks good, except for Keane, who will be up 10th.

Here is PSG: Weird hitting the 9.77 thing again ... 



Edited by Joey Numbaz

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Posted (edited)

Let's try again. Here is PSG:


Lo Celso and Cavani both anxious. That's good. They are 15 and 17 PK takers ... we really need one of them to miss. Here's their ratings:

Cavani 17
Neymar 16
Mbappé 16
Lo Celso 15
Pereira 12
Allan 10
Ghoulam 10
Neuer 10 (!)
Marquinhos 8
Betancur 8
Kimpembe 8


Pickford - Reflexes 16, Anticipation 15, Decisions 13
Neuer - Reflexes 17, Anticipation 20, Decisions 16

We did practice penalties yesterday. Let's do this!


Edited by Joey Numbaz

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Posted (edited)

Mbappé is up first and Pickford saves it!!!

Pellegri goes lower right and Neuer dives the wrong way!

Cavani looking anxious puts it by Pickford to the left.

Dolberg lower right and past Neuer! Does this count as breaking his drought? I'll count it if you will.

Here comes Neymar ... right where Cavani went and past Pickford.

Aouar puts it lower right and Neuer goes the other way! 3-2 good guys.

Lo Celso goes right where Aouar and Pellegri did. 3-3

Richarlison steps up, looking positive. Top right and Neuer can't get to it. 4-3! One round to go!

Here comes Ricardo Pereira. A player I considered purchasing at one point. He's displaying little emotion. Pickford is calm (yeah right).

He shoots it straight at Pickford who dives to the right. 4-4.

Here we go. Almamy Touré strides positively to the spot. Make this and Everton are headed to Amsterdam.



Edited by Joey Numbaz

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Posted (edited)

I am so nervous right now while the game continues and I haven't been able to save it yet ... My pulse was 142 two minutes ago.

It's down to 127 and the sim is still running. Under 19 scores from around the world are scrolling and I am powerless. Finish already!

Edited by Joey Numbaz

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There is no way it takes this long usually to save a game. It seemed like forever. But it's official! Now to run my Time Machine backup!

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Posted (edited)

We are headed into the Premier League's kind of final day (remember, we play a make up game with Chelsea May 22).

Burnley with 27 points has been relegated. It does not look good for Bournemouth or Fulham.

16. 34 -29 Newcastle
17. 32 -21 Huddersfield
18. 31 -37 Bournemouth
19. 29 -28 Fulham
20. 27 -36 Burnley

Newcastle plays at Aston Villa
Huddersfield hosts Arsenal
Bournemouth is at Tottenham
Fulham host Watford

Newcastle is pretty safe. They'd need Huddersfield and Bournemouth to win, and the and Bournemouth would have to make up 9 goals in the process.

Fulham needs a win, and Huddersfield to lose, Bournemouth to draw or lose, and Fulham needs to make up 8 goals on Huddersfield as well.

So in all likelihood Bournemouth and Fulham are going down.

Meanwhile in the race for the last Champions League spot:

4. 73 +40 Manchester City
5. 72 +31 Chelsea
6. 71 +23 Arsenal

City is at Wolves (who are pretty good, 8th place), Chelsea is at United, and Arsenal go to Huddersfield.

Chelsea also has the game in hand against us.

At the top, we have:

1. 88 +46 Liverpool
2. 87 +64 Manchester United
3. 84 +40 Everton

We are pretty big Chelsea and Cardiff fans right now ... all we need is for both of them to at least get away draws while we go to Southampton and win. Easy peasy.

As far as promotion goes, Crystal Palace (91) and West Brom (87) are coming up.

The playoffs pit:

Stoke City (87) vs. Reading (79)
QPR (80) vs. Leicester (79)

Edited by Joey Numbaz

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Well, the Premier League title dream is over. We'll finish 3rd this year, after a 1-1 draw at Southampton, combined with United beating Chelsea 2-1 and Liverpool beating Cardiff 2-0 to defend their title, 91-90 over United. We'll finish with 85, 86 or 88 points.

This makes for an interesting decision May 22. Chelsea need a win to make the Champions League. The game means nothing to us, and we have the Champions League Final a week later. Arsenal are likely to be pretty annoyed by the lineup I run out there.

As far as relegation, Bournemouth got their miracle. They went to London and beat Tottenham 2-1, while Huddersfield lost 2-0 to Arsenal. Fulham actually beat Watford, but it wasn't enough. 32-32-30 were the relegated point totals. Previous two years were 25-25-24, and 37-35-20. Seems like the bottom of the league is getting stronger with all of the money coming in.

Around Europe:

La Liga - Celta is at 79 points through 35 games, and Barcelona is at 78. That would be quite a story. Celta have never finished higher than 4th.

Ajax are 12th in the Eredivisie.

Napoli are still finishing 2nd to Juventus in Serie A, this year it's 80-74 with two games to go.

Bayern still destroying the Bundesliga, up 78-62 on Hoffenheim with one game left. Leverkusen could still get relegated. Up 28-27 for 15-16th place with one game left.

PSG could still lose Ligue 1. They are up 90-87 on Marseille. PSG has 3 games left, Marseille 2. They don't play head to head.

Should be a fun three weeks to wrap up the season.

Time to go and win some trophies. The FA Cup and Champions League silverware would look pretty nice in our trophy case.

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Unlucky in the League mate. Good luck for the upcoming finals! \o/

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