Welcome to the Premier League. We are in to season two, 2018/19.
Our aim – To not get relegated.
We have progressed with the squad since last season and have brought in a number of players that we (me and Frank McParland) hope will keep us in the EPL. Please excuse the artwork….This is one thing I hope to improve as I tell my story.
The player brought in should bring us hope and hopefully an increase in quality to compete at EPL level.
The Fixtures have come in and the opening five games look interesting. Especially our first home game of the season to Manchester United.
Our Opening Game of the Season was a gruelling battle in Yorkshire against an established Huddersfield. We give debuts to loanees Luke Shaw and Tammy Abraham and new boys Pierre Hojberg and Tomas Kalas.
We win a thrilling encounter at the John Smith Stadium.
We progress through August and September in decent form. Notably a massive 5-1 win (at home) against Bournmouth. All three of our forwards show their eye for goal. Tammy Abraham picking up a hat trick.
As you can see we won three of the four opening games. The draw was a 2-2 tactical battle against Man Utd.
After two more victories on the spin we receive a hammer blow….
A 2-0 (away) loss to Aston Villa who beat us twice in the league last season. At this point I decide to not change the tactics and see it as too many changes to the starting eleven against a team who know our weaknesses.
After a team brief to discuss my new team selection policy I get the whole squad on board. This positive spirit enables us to win against Leicester in the very next match and somehow we beat Liverpool 6-0 at home.
I notice this little thing about our performance… That no one would give the ball to Jamaal Lascelles in open play.
We then take our new found confidence for finding the back of the net against Arsenal away. With a hansom 5-2 win. This victory pushes our league position to second after ten games played and only two points behind leaders Man City.
Our very next game was against Man City for an earlier battle for the top spot.
We secure a 1-0 win with a park the bas like performance from our strongest eleven.
The post game analysis shows that the guys could see that Zagadou was having a quiet game….So much that most of the team chose to play with out him! It also shows that our strength against Man City was our play on our right hand side of the pitch.
We finish November with a huge kick in the nuts. Tottenham thrash us 4-0 to bring us back down to earth with a bump.
The club also announce that the Youth and 1st team training facilities have been upgraded…finally we have more than two footballs to train with.
We get to the halfway point in the league. Top of the table on goal difference to Man City. The further two losses were a 2-1 (away) to Chelsea and a Home 4-1 mauling by Stoke City.
Our brilliant form brings our form to the attention of the football world. With Ben Brereton picking up the European Golden Boy award. The boy deserved it as his form for club and England Under 21’s has been phenomenal.
We then enter January with Chelsea luring our key midfielder. Going…Going…Gone….
Not too bad as we convinced Leon to join us on a Free (out of contract) and we did promise that he could use us as a stepping stone for bigger things. I just didn’t think he would run off quite so soon.
The new Messiah??? We bring in James Ward-Prowse for £19.5m to smash our transfer record. We are hoping his ability to pick a pass and hit freekicks will give us a new dimension.
We also bring in Trent Alexander-Arnold, Kieran Tierney and Danilio Cataldi for a combined £50.9m. We see Ben Osborne and Barrie McKay leave for a combined £30m.
We continue our inconsistent form by winning against Huddersfield in the return fixture. And winning against Norwich in the 3rd round of the FA cup. But we are also picked apart by Man Utd and Southampton in the 4th round of the FA Cup.
I then decide enough is enough and tweak the formation for the next game against Fulham. With the idea we need to keep the ball more than what we have done but we still need to get wide to get crosses in to the box. We hit Fulham for six.
Our form picks up again. With a draw against Aston Villa. Away win against Leicester. And this very satisfying victory away to Liverpool.
We show further signs of consistency by beating Arsenal 3-1 at home.
We also park the bus again against Man City. We ram raided a 2-0 lead to hold onto a 2-1 win.
With eight games to go our form was going strong.
We jump fresh from our double over Man City. To winning the following two fixtures against Tottenham and Watford respectively. And drawing to Chelsea. To get to the point in the season where we are five games away from the unexpected.
Our crazy season concludes with five victories on the bounce. Where we get crowned champions on a sunny day in Stoke.
We finish the 38 game EPL season in style and nine points ahead of second place Manchester United, who pip Man City on the final day due to City’s woeful form.
The full table shows where we were dominant throughout the season, up front. Our goals for was 121 and our defence were average conceding 49. However our ability to dig in when the going got tough meant we looked to out score our opponents and more often than not we would win with that mentality.
This philosophy worked throughout the league campaign but didn’t work in the cups. The main reason for this is that I played our second string team in the cup games, and clearly the guys that got me to the Premiership were not as good as the eleven I had assembled to win the league.
The loan of Tammy Abraham was instrumental. This signing was key to our season with his contribution of 30 goals and 20 assists in 32 games. And this guy swept the board at the end of season ball scooping Player of the year, players’ player and young player of the year.
Jason Cummings with 34 goals and 17 assists in 32games could only claim Top goalscorer. This guy was phenomenal, and has been a true goalscoring machine for me in the two seasons we’ve played so far.
I also pick up Manager of the year which was a nice surprise as I had only won Manager of the month in April and May. Pep had won it on three occasions throughout the season.
We leave the 2018-19 season on a great high, with the fans singing ‘We are the champions’ along with a great sense of pride. The new season will see further upgrades to our facilities and a new level of expectation from the board and fans alike. We will need to regroup and sign players in key positions as we are expecting departures. Most of all we have new hope that we can continue our recent success but the road will be much tougher as we enter the elite European competition and have to juggle that with the demands of the EPL.