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Football Manager Talk

Posted by Scotsman on December 24, 2011 in Geek Stuff |

This post is really just for myself and for HRHomer who I talk Football Manager to, but I figured I’d post it here anyway. Seriously if you’re not HRHomer skip over this. You won’t care.

I’m a Football Manager addict, although I found it hard to get any games going in FM 2010 and completely skipped FM 2011. I spent about 2 months trying to get into an FM 2012 game before finally getting into one with Everton.

I’m just finished my 2nd season, so a quick summary:

Season 1: 0 transfer budget. Finished 4th to qualify for champions league.

Season 2: Only had a small budget. Qualified for Champs League Knockout rounds(where I got knocked out). Came 3rd in the EPL with the title coming down to the 2nd last game of the season.

And with that, I’m onto season 3 – which I plan to make my championship season. The board agreed, giving me a transfer budget of 30m+ which blew my mind. So rather than waste it on the highest valued players I want to fully analyze my squad first and determine where I really need to spend it.

So first of all, here’s the formation I used for the 2nd half of Season 2:

formation

This formation worked great and will be my base formation for Season 3. So with that it’s time to break down the positions, the players, and my thoughts:

Goalkeepers:

Tim Howard: Solid enough keeper. Does his job okay, but hasn’t got a man of the match award in over 80 games for me which says a lot.

John Ruddy: Brought in as backup and possibly challenger to Howard. Did okay, but was unable to push himself into first team on a regular basis. Transfer listed by request, probably going to leave.

Conclusions: I might try and keep Ruddy purely as a backup keeper as he’s solid and only on 9.5k a week. However I think I could do better than Tim Howard, and am going to add a goalkeeper to my shopping list. Will only sign one if I can get the absolute best though.

Full Backs(Left and Right):

Leighton Baines: Left back. Solid enough performer.

Andres Guardado: Left Back. Didn’t fit in well this season and is interested in possibly leaving the club. I’m probably going to grant that. The problem is his tackling is just 10, and that can cost us. For example my fullback Seamus Coleman who is a regular is #1 for Tackles/Game in the EPL, showing how relied on my full backs are defensively.

Seamus Coleman: Right Back. He was very solid. Tackles/game was ridiculous, and he assisted a few and got a couple of MoM awards. One concern was he got really tired/jaded near the end of the season, and there was a particular moment where his fitness caught up with him and cost us an important game vs Liverpool. We had no other right back so he played majority of games.

Gregg Wylde: Left Back. Young, fast, should be a solid enough backup for Baines, and can also play upfield if needed.

Phil Neville: Retiring.

Conclusions: I have two solid full backs, but I really need to get an additional full back in. Most likely as a backup,ideally able to play both positions(but RB for sure) and a solid tackler. So will be purchasing a full back definitely. Will also sell Guardado.

Center Backs:

Neven Subotic: Solid first choice CB. Only 24 yrs old.

Phil Jaglieka: Solid first choice CB. 30 years old, so still a few years left yet(and I’ll probably have quit Everton by the time I have to worry about his age).

John Heitinga: DC & DMC. Had a frustrating season for me with a poor disciplinary record. Also a fair amount of underwhelming performances. However his attributes are solid, and being able to play in midfield helps. Plus only 29. He’s wanted by a couple of clubs so we’ll see.

Shane Duffy: 21 years old. Attributes aren’t the best but he’s thrown in solid performances in the 6 league games I played him. A fine backup player.

Joseph Yobo: Played 9 games for me, was solid. 32 years old and will be 33 soon. Stats wise age hasn’t hurt him yet but it’s going to happen sooner rather than later. With a 50k a week contract, I’m going to see if I can renegotiate it lower. Failing that, I’ll maybe look at off-loading him or just let him stick around until his contract expires end of season.

Sylvain Distin: Got a really bad injury and is retiring because of it. Pity as he’s quality but oh well.

Conclusions: With two solid CBs(Subotic/Jaglieka) and one or two solid backups(Duffy, Heitinga, possibly Yobo) I’m good – but I think my defense could be better. With Stoke being relegated, Ryan Shawcross is available and probs not too expensive, so will be my #1 target to really add to the defense.

Central Midfielders:

My central midfielders usually have to work hard. Passing, tackling etc are both important, as are crossing ability. With that said…

Kwadwo Asamoah: The Ghana international is phenomenal for me. 27 games, 10 assists, 6 man of the match. Real hard worker, great passing ability, solid tackler, can even dribble like a mofo. Had the best cross completion ratio in league, just fantastic. #1 central midfielder easy.

Jack Rodwell: Hits way too many long shots, and is horrific at them. Broke his leg and only played 9 games in my 2nd season. Expect him to play a lot more in the 3rd season and really turn it on.

Marouane Fellaini: Very solid player. He’s never stepped up to have that A+ season, but he’s been good.

Ross Barkley Only 19. Has a solid future ahead of him. 3 assists in 4 games says a lot. He’s been out on loan the prior two seasons, but he’s going to be part of my squad this season and I’ll give him a fair amount of first team football to hopefully take his game to the next level.

John Heitinga: Mentioned previously in CB section. Will retrain him to play in MC position which should help if he’s ever called upon there. Would be good if we need ball winning midfielders.

Conclusions: MC area is fine. Asamoah is automatic selection, and Rodwell/Fellaini/Barkley/Heitinga is a strong mix for the other position.

Attacking Midfielders:

Tim Cahill: A fucking trooper, and amazing play for me. He’s now 33 and a half which is concerning, and he may only have 1 season left at the top level. 2 if he’s lucky. He’ll be my #1 AMC & Playmaker, but I’m going to start trying to get a replacement in, and have him work on a reduced schedule.

Jose Baxter: Has never “Wowed” me. This is his season to step up and try and oust Tim Cahill from the AMC spot. I don’t see it happening.

Diniyar Bilyaletdinov: I’ve given him 2 seasons, and he’s never really turned it on for me despite some great stats. Time to sell.

Leon Osman: Now 32 years oldi, and had a weak second season. His stats are decent and he’s only on 25k a week, so I’ll most likely keep him as a backup until his contract expires at the end of the season.

Conclusions: With Baxter, Cahill and Osman, I’m pretty much covered. Plus I have strikers who can also play in the AMC position(Gueye & Tevez). In saying that, I’ll be looking for the “next Cahill” and if the price is right, will get an up and coming player to step into that role.

Strikers

With 3 striker positions, I need a fair amount of strikers. I have:

Carlos Tevez: Untouchable. Led the league last season for key passes and it wasn’t even close. 35 games, 12 goals, 17 assists, just fantastic.

Nicklas Bendtner: In the 2nd half of the season, established himself as the #1 striker in that central position with some amazing performances. 27 goals in 32 games, the man is a machine.

Magaye Gueye: His attributes are nothing special, but he throws in excellent performances constantly. Fast, great on the counter attack, and a very valuable player who is only 22, and just gets better and better.

Victor Anichebe: Was great in the 1st season. Was okay in 2nd season but didn’t play much. 8 apps(6 subs too), 4 goals, 5 assists, 2 MoM. Those stats actually dont make him look half bad. Will be looking for him to play more this season, and hopefully challenge Bendtner for that central position due to height and pace.

Adriano: Now 31 years old. 6 apps(15 subs) with 6 goals, 2 assists. He fucking missed a lot of shots too though – with a 39% shot on target. 43.5k wages is a bit much too, but his contract expires end of season. Might be looking to offload him, because I’ve never felt he’s someone I can count on to come on and turn a game on its head.

Conclusions: I also have a fair amount of youth strikers I can call on. In saying that, I think one more striker could be a good thing. We’ll see if the right person comes up. There’s a few possibilities, like James Vaughan, Daniel Sturridge and Peter Crouch. All 3 I could probably get for cheap, and I would like to give Apostolos Vellios, Joao Silva and a few of my youth guys games so we’ll see.

Overall Conclusions:

Must Buys: At least one full back, RB position, good tackler, hopefully able to play LB(but not required). CB, probably Shawcross. Probably a cheap striker or two.

Probable Buys: A GK to replace Howard if I can find one good enough. AMC if I can find “the future Cahill”.

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