Transfers and Updates Through Halloween

The summer transfer window was always going to be a success after the payout from the premier league. I had to completely rebuild the back line, Virgil injured for more than half the season, Yoshida departing for France, and Ryan Bertrand departing for Spurs. Jose Fonte agreed mutual termination as did goalkeeper Alex McCarthy. Now that the dead wood is out of the way I was able to bring in players I’d been watching all season long.

Jorge Mere ($28M release clause – Sporting Gijon)

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Joël Veltman ($18M – Ajax)

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Kieran Tierney ($14.5M – Celtic)

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Antonio Sanabria ($18M – Real Hispalis)

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So far all but Antonio are producing and seeing as Charlie Austin is on fire, it doesn’t really matter. Expect that I’ve got zero return from this guy yet. I also picked up Cican Stankovic and Aaron Ramsdale to fill the need for backup goalkeepers. I picked up Teddy Bishop from Ipswich for a measly $950K and instantly had him being tutored by Jordy Clasie. Last, I picked up Nicolás Benedetti for $750K and he’s loaned out in Ligue 1 in an effort to get a work permit. The squad is finally looking like how I want it too, exciting times here!

Update through Halloween

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We are exceeding expectations currently. There have been some epic games, including the 4-4 to West Ham, which we threw away from a 3-1 lead. There was the dominant 3-1 victory over Benfica in the champions league. Next was a 0-5 drubbing by Arsenal, putting us quickly back in place. My favorite match of the season, though, has got to be the 3-3 away to Dortmund. What a game. Pierre-Emile Højbjerg and Andre Horta are really developing rapidly and both are signed to long term deals with ridiculous release clauses.bvb-v-south

We are currently sitting pretty in 3rd place in the league and are top of our champions league group. I’ve tweaked my tactics some and I’ll show that and some top players I’m scouting before the next update.

Season in Review 16/17

Due to the madness of finals, I’m going to wrap up the 2016/2017 season in one post. It was a very successful year, the pinnacle of the campaign was winning the Europa league. On our way to success we beat Feyenoord, Athletic Bilbao, Shaktar, and finally BMG in the final.

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Signing of the Season

This is a no brainer to me, though Andre Horta gets an honorable mention. He easily surpassed Cedric as my first choice right back, he’s only 18, and I put a $60M release clause in his contract.

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Season Review

We finished 8th in the league and that’s ok, maybe next year we’ll go higher depending on how we do in the group stages of the Champions league. The biggest changes I’ve made over the season is using the Counter tactics much, much more. It’s really paid off as we’ve scored some stunning goals on the counter, especially with the fullbacks putting in so many crosses. I also now in games I’m certainly not favored to win, switch to a 4-3-2-1 with the DM instead of the playmaker role. This season was definitely adjusting to playing with a team that wasn’t Manchester United. I really, really enjoy it, especially the frustration of young players who have “no intention of joining”, it makes scouting all the more enjoyable. That being said, I’m also getting used to the new work permit rule, it makes scouting in South America or places like Serbia, much more difficult. Vallecano is the affiliate club in Spain for Southampton, but I don’t really have the patience to loan someone out for 2 years, but we’ll see.

There will be some major changes next season, there are a few players who want to leave. Virgil Van Dyk was supposed to leave, but in the final he suffered an MCL injury and is now out for 6-7 months. I will have a fat transfer budget to use, my targets generally being young players, but I need to shore up CB because Fonte wants to leave.

Thanks for reading, I’m still messing with the format and seeing what works best!

February pt.2

Following the win at Chelsea, we really wanted to keep the momentum going in the Europa league match away against Mainz. It’s either this or the FA Cup and my players and I want a trophy.

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An outstanding result! Tadic got us off to a hot start and shortly after we were up 3-0 going into halftime. Three goals in 5 minutes near the end sealed our progress to the next round with the return leg still to play.

mainzanalysisMoving onto the FA Cup 5th round, I face my old adversary Watford. Walter Mazzarri has confounded me with his back three, but I didn’t change anything tactically. Hindsight is 20/20, I should have played with a DM instead of an AMC.

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We didn’t get thrashed, but it was rather pathetic. Valjent had a poor game as did Schaub and the team never really got going. The one positive is Gerard Moreno scored again. The FA Cup felt winnable so it was very disappointing to be out.

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The 2nd leg of the Mainz tie is at home and on aggregate we lead 6-2. This was a great opportunity to rotate my squad and rest some weary legs.  Schaub and Clasie were the exception and kept their roles in the starting XI.

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Mainz set up defensively but I had no major intentions to attack, instead playing on the counter for most of the game. Sofiane Boufal, bless his heart, scored a hat trick. He’s been injured most of the season and Tadic is excellent in that role, so it’s been hard to get Boufal a run of games.

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We welcome Swansea to St. Mary’s to end the month of February and this was a clinical performance by my preferred starting XI.

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The first half was frustrating, bossing possession but not finishing any of our chances. Fonte added two headers in the second half to make the scoreline reflect our dominance

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This concludes the month of February and league matches against Watford and Bournemouth away, with the home and away leg of our Europa league match with Feyenoord sandwiched in between. February was highlighted by some excellent wins over top opposition, the 4-3 against Manchester United a downright classic. In March, the new youth intake will be announced and that’s one of my favorite days of the year.

February pt.1

February kicks off with a home match against Manchester United. Again. No major changes, but Andre Horta is thrown straight into the side. I kept control settings on at home and while I probably should play on the counter, it was a thrilling match.

It looked like it was going to be one of those days after Fraser Forester dropped the ball into his own net. Then it was Horta 24 minutes in with a goal on his debut, a great header off the bar. Equalizer! How quickly things change. Martial scored his first of two goals, just breezing past my defenders as if they were statues.

Going into half I didn’t change much, I was happy we were back in the game. Schaub played the role of super sub, bagging the final two goals of the game. The kind that had me jumping out of my chair and running around my apartment. It only took five tries, but I finally beat them.

Next up, Liverpool in the league. Seeing as they are mid-table and I have what I consider more important games head, so I rotated the front four.

I was stubborn and dumb to not play on the counter, but I was riding my high off last game. Coutinho destroyed us and I think we were lucky it wasn’t a worse scoreline.

Don’t look back. We ignore the result and look to Chelsea away. Cedric was dropped, his performance against Liverpool was poor. Horta dropped in favor of Højbjerg so there could be two deep lying playmakers. My preferred front four of Moreno, Tadic, Coric, and Rodriguez was restored to the side. Set to play on the counter and be more disciplined.

Off to a flyer! Moreno grabbed a goal in the 5th minute on the break and we were well on our way. Five minutes later Midtsjø added our second and we sat back the rest of the game. Hazard pulled one back before half for Chelsea which made the second half slightly nervy until Moreno added the third, a great match.

All previous posts are here on blogger before I switched over. I’m sneaking this post in right before finals and I am almost done with the season, so unfortunately I can’t provide where I am in the standings. I was in 7th for quite a long time though, so around there.