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FM Blog #6: Awful August

Posted by Graeme McGaw on January 9, 2014 in Football Manager |

Well it’s the end of August, my first season back in the EPL and I need to do an update because I also need to take some time off from FM and really think about things.

As I’m sure you can tell from the title of this blog post – things aren’t going too well.

Before we get to that, I’ll update Taff and Homer on how they are doing since the first day of the season:

Blackburn (Taff): No signings after the first day of the season. Drew 2-2 at home to Newcastle, lost 4-2 away to Spurs, and defeated Man City 2-1 at home. Currently 10th, and in the Europa League Group Stages after beating Rosenborg.

Leeds (Homer): Signed Chris Wood, Reece Brown and Andre Wisdom(on loan from me) on transfer deadline day. Chris Wood was the big one, costing 5.25m. In the league he drew 1-1 at home to Villa, lost 1-0 away to Fulham, and defeated Newcastle 1-0. Currently sitting 9th.

And now….onto me.

August 2014:

Here are my results thus far:

result-1

result-2

result-3

result-4

In that last game I pretty much blew up and played a crazy tactic:

sunderland-formation

Hilariously to the exact same result of 4-2. However that one wasn’t totally crazy – I wanted to see if my beast of a midfielder Valon Behrami could maybe work in the libero position. Sadly he got injured in the pre-match warm up, but I decided to go with Joe Allen in there. He didn’t add as much to attack as I hoped, but he contributed passing wise, had 3 crosses, had 5 tackles which he won, made 6 interceptions and even a shot. So it’s something to think about and I may experiment with it.

End result: Bottom of the EPL. Only team without a point.

Anyway – I really need to take some time off and think about tactics going forward. Some notes about the games:

vs West Brom: Went with 4-3-1-2. Had slightly more possession but they killed us in the shots department. Agger was out so I had to go with Kelly/Skrtel in central defense. This was a poor performance overall from the whole team. Just one of those things where nothing went our way. I also probably should have adapted to Shane Long better. I didn’t, and he scored 4.

vs Chelsea: I was feeling low after the WBA Game, so I went for a defensive tactic but aimed at using wing backs. 2-3-2-2-1. Also hacking the fuck out of them. We were just poor here. Chelsea dominated the game. Lucas only had 57 passes out of 71 complete, and many passes were misplaced. Skrtel and Wisdom were central defense here due to an injury to Kelly.

vs Bradford: We went with the 4-3-1-2. Skrtel/Wisdom in defense. We had more possession and 24 shots to 6. Despite that, we didn’t deserve to win. Just some piss poor passing etc especially in key areas.

vs Sunderland: This was a disaster. They dominated us 31 shots to 12. Defensive paring again was Skrtel vs Wisdom. This was just a bad, bad day.

Summary:

I can’t ignore the fact that defensive injuries didn’t help. Agger injured, Sakho injured then Kelly injured and Andre Wisdom just didn’t seem up to the task of the EPL. Plus having a new goalkeeper probably doesn’t help matters much.

Even striker wise – I can’t fully blame them. I need to take some of it. I haven’t given as much thought as I should’ve into how they would play. More just a case of throwing them in and hoping for the best.

But it doesn’t excuse my midfield, who have just been disastrous at the moment.

I have the international break to think things over, and I’m taking a few days off to do that.

I have some tough decisions to make. For example:

Goalkeepers:

Do I go with Akinfeev or Reina, who I was unable to ditch during the window? I’d like to keep Akinfeev in for a bit longer but if he performs like this then I may have to get Reina back in the squad.

Wingbacks:

Still a very strong position. I just need to determine whether I want them to attack or be in a supporting role.

Central Defense:

Obviously Agger/Skrtel are my 2 main centre backs. I will have Kelly, Sakho and Toure available if need be. I’m debating the 3 man defense and then using the wingbacks more, but the libero position is also one where Behrami might shine.

Central Midfield:

This is where I should be dominating it. Lucas, Gerrard, Henderson, Behrami(who really hasn’t played yet due to injuries), Allen, and even Coutinho has been trained here.

Attacking Wings:

Another position I can utilize with playmakers OR inside forwards – and something I need to consider with the wingbacks or full backs. I have Suarez, Gerrard, Sterling, Coutinho, Sturridge, Gauld and even Torres who can play here.

Attacking Midfield Center:

Again, strong with playmakers or treqs. Suarez or Coutinho or both, even Gerrard and Ryan Gauld.

Striker:

Torres, Suarez, Crouch, Rhodes, Sturridge. Pretty set there.

Tactical Summary:

I really need to figure out exactly what I want from this team. There are so many options. For example a 1 man strikeforce would work in a slow, defensive build-up. But it’s also set up for countering with a poacher. Two man strikeforce with DLF/AF or even a Treq. And of course a 3 man strikeforce with Crouchie in the middle.

Lot of thinking to do over the next few days – any advice appreciated. My next game is in 2 weeks against Arsenal at home. I plan on reading a ton of SI and really thinking about this. In the meantime I’m going to train team cohesiveness because there was just so many slack passes etc that I felt was a problem. I want to get this team working together again.

Here is my squad sorted by position – click for big:

myplayers

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FM Blog Update #5: A Returning Star

Posted by Graeme McGaw on January 6, 2014 in Football Manager |

Well, it was a busy busy Summer. It’s now Saturday August 16th and I am about to take on WBA on my first game of the season. Let’s look back, shall we?

Daniel Agger was surprisingly voted Player of the Year. Always nice when a defender gets it. Hilariously despite his awesome performances, Coutinho didn’t even get in the Best 11 having to settle for a spot in the bench. Read more…

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FM Blog Update #4: End of Season Elation

Posted by Graeme McGaw on January 5, 2014 in Football Manager |

It’s now June 1st, 2014 in my Football Manager game, and my first season is over.

This is how the league ended up:

laeguetable

An excellent result. We only lost 2 games all season. We lost 1-0 to Ipswich away in a 50/50 game where our finishing was piss poor, and immediately upon securing the league we lost 2-0 at home to Burnley, in a match where we had 34 shots with 16 on target. Classic FM.

What was also notable was who got promoted with me. Blackburn got promoted automatically and Leeds won the Playoffs. I edited the game to put my friends Taff and HRHomer in the game – both respectively, at Blackburn and Leeds! Quite exciting for all three of us to go up.

I got one notable player via the Youths:

christian-walsh

He is small as fuck but being 15 years old his physical stats are great. I ended up giving him 6 sub appearances during the campaign where he ended up with a 6.70 rating.

During the transfer window I signed Jordan Rhodes for about £10 Million. He went on to score 14 goals in 19 games although that’s a bit misleading as 5 were penalties. He got 7 assists though and I am looking forward to having a quality #9 in my team for the EPL.

I also signed Igor Akinfeev on a bosman, and Ryan Gauld on a big transfer for the end of the season. So both of them will be joining up with me for the new season.

Goalkeeper wise it will be interesting. Reina was injured and missed the last 3 months of the season. I recalled Mignolet from loan who did a solid enough job. Honestly Reina has been a bit of a liability anyway with some really bad kicking. I’ll most likely push Akinfeev as #1 and keep Mignolet as a backup(although let him go on loan).

During the transfer window I sold Ossuama Assaidi for £6.5m(we don’t use wingers enough and I had better inside forwards), Fabio Borini for £6m(He just never impressed me), and Iago Aspas for £6m. He went to Southampton where he played 10 games and did fuckall.

Quick analysis of positions based on the season:

Goalkeepers:

As mentioned above – Reina/Mignolet both did solid if unspectacular. Reina will probably be gone and Akinfeev #1 for sure.

Full Backs:

I’ve been blessed in this position, with Enrique, Johnson, Flanagan and Robinson. Flanagan was the start in that position with 13 games and 6 sub abbs, 4 assists and 2 mans of the match. No need to strengthen here at all.

Centre Backs:

Again, blessed. Obviously, Skrtel and Agger. However I also rotated with Kelly, Sakho and Toure and they all were great. Kelly and Sakho in particular. I may look at selling Toure and getting a young defender in but it’s not a big concern. I also have the 2 guys at Leeds coming back who were the sole reason they got promoted, not Homers shitty tactics.

Central Midfield:

I rotated my 4 midfielders often and the average ratings speak for themselves: Lucas 7.04, Allen 7.03, Henderson 7.03, Gerrard 7.01. Not much between them at all and I was happy with how they played.

Next season in the EPL I plan on 3 CMs. Based on that, I will be purchasing at least one central midfielder. That’s my #1 spot to get some cover. I may even get 2 if I have money left over.

Attacking Midfielders:

Next season I plan on playing with 1-2 AMs with them switching between central and on the flanks.

My initial plan was Suarez in AMC with Sturridge/Rhodes up front however Coutinho had a top second half of the season. It foced me to change things up and have Suarez up front and Coutinho in AMC.

I was impressed with Suarez and Sturridge and Cutinho. Raheem Sterling played a lot in full back postions as well and he was a solid utility player. The only weakness was Luis Alberto who I gave many chances to and nothing. He’s only 21 so he can improve. I’m not going out of my way to sell him but if a team comes in for him I won’t be stopping them.

Strikers:

Rhodes came in and got 14 in 19. Suarez was all over the place position wise but got 20 in 34 and Sturridge got 14 in 31 even though he played on the flanks a lot. Happy with my strikers. 2 of my planned formations next year feature 1 striker, so another striker isn’t a priority. Just have to hope Luis Alberto gets rocking.

I may look for a proven goalscorer though – would be nice to get a good reliable striker to come off the bench.

Summary:

A solid season, and now the hard work really begins: the EPL. My board gave me £16m to spend and I can adjust the budget to get to £22m. I’m not sure their expectations for the season but I am hoping it’s simply avoid relegation or as low as a mid-table finish,as I’d like a pressure-free season tbh.

Transfer wise, I figure one quality midfielder and a decent striker for sure.

Hmmm….what’s this?

crouchie

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FM Blog Update #3: Tactic Tinkering

Posted by Graeme McGaw on January 2, 2014 in Football Manager |

It’s now January 1st, 2014 in my FM game where I took over Liverpool in the Championship.
league-table

So looking at the league table, you might think things are going well, right?

No :(
Read more…

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FM Blog Update #2: First Game

Posted by Graeme McGaw on December 28, 2013 in Football Manager |

I’m not going to do the crazy updates Taffmaster does, but I did want to do a quick update after my first game.

I made a brief change to the formations. Formation #2, the 1 striker formation, I switched to have 1 DMC instead of 2 CMs.
Read more…

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