Hello, Thank you for being patient. I got side tracked with revisiting the “This is England series”. Needless to say I hope I can stick with this save until the end (I mean FM19)….. Or should I say November 2nd.
I know I left the last article with promise of vim and vigour, I mean a tactical overview. You’re not going to get much of that in this update. Instead you are going to be brought right up to date with what has gone on during the season so far.
I finished the last blog with the boys being told to get their showers and dressed for a debrief at the club hotel before we took the slow coach ride to Marseille for our second Champions League fixture of the campaign. (So I’ll start from there).
Our next match away at Marseille. This match started with an element of confusion. As Marseille took an early lead from Victor Wanyama. You can now see why we were confused, he never scores! The team rallied round and began to play their game, looking to pass around and through the opposition. Ricardo Campos eventually found space on the right wing with a perfectly weighted cross for PP aka Pietro Pellegri, to score a lovely header on 28 minutes.
On 42 minutes, Ricardo then went alone with a lovely dribble towards the penalty spot before turning a well placed shot in to the back of the net.
With our tails high we looked to further our lead until the boy giant Norbert Balogh scored a lovely header from close range. With the score 2-2 we took a tired looking Grifoni off and swap him for the energy of Jadon Sancho. It was his energy that broke to OM hearts. After collecting the ball from deep Jadon went on a mazy run before finding Ricardo in space on the right with a lovely long pass. Ricardo with space then delivered a curling cross for PP to score a trademark header that went past the goalie at the near post. We ran out winners after a stern test and buoyed with this new found confidence took our up lifted spirit on a eight match winning streak. Which included the two matches against Olympiakos (winning 8-0 on aggregate) and halted after a 4-0 victory against Genoa.
Lazio. Lazio were the team to burst our bubble. We lost 2-1 at the Stadio Olimpico. We lost to a typical FM style goal. We were drawing in a very close encountered battle, when Seppe Pezzella our left back got sent off for being a prat. He forgot that he had been booked earlier in the match and decided to pole axe Simone Verdi for the hundredth time. Only this time the referee got his black book out and sent Pez packing. With a man down and the tactical approach switched to every defensive player back we then let Walter Gonzalez who had only been on the pitch for five minutes score from close range with no one marking him.
We then did what I thought we would do. We had a little wobble in form.
We lost to Barcelona away, they won one nil and threw the kitchen sink at us until Nelson Semedo eventually scored from a volley just inside the 18yrd box on the 87th minute. That result still smarts as we played better than the result showed. We should have at least come out of the match with one point.
With our wounds barely wrapped up in cotton bandages with then entertained Milan (AC) at the Alberto Braglia. A fit again Rodrygo scored for us on the 17th minute. And we proceeded to batter the goal. In truth the battering became less and less and looked more like a peppering of misguided shots. That would just go straight to the human ball magnet, Gigi Donnarumma. (We still want to prise him away if we can, I’m sure the owners could sweeten him up with the promise of a few super cars!) Bacca scored on the 79th minute to crush our hopes. We resulted in a 1-1 draw.
We then realised a number of players were about to come back from minor injury. Namely, Cristiano Ronaldo and Pipo Melegoni.
Our next match was against the league’s strugglers Perugia. We went with the idea that the game would provide valuable minutes to both after their respective injuries. Ronny was a bit ring rusty but provided a wonderful foil to the late box work of Pipo. We ran our 4-0 winners with Melegoni scoring two, with Jensen and Ahmetaj scoring the other goals.
The confidence boost was well received and well timed. As our next match would be the home fixture against Marseille. This was also branded a must not lose match if we were to progress in the Champions League. Once again we went with our trusted 4231 tactic. And Melegoni ran the show. We resulted 4-0 victors after Ronny scored from the spot on the 37th minute, Pipo scoring a screamer just before half time and Rodrygo and Sancho adding to the party in the second half.
We then won the next match 4-0 (at Home vs Sassuolo), a 5-2 win against Padova in the 1st rnd of the TIN(M) Cup and a 4-2 away win against Bologna.
That is up to date but for our 1st round draw for the Champions League.
We’ve been given the easy task of playing Man City. Thankfully we have the home fixture second, so fingers crossed we can keep the score respectful at Maine Rd, and then hit them for what we’ve got at the Alberto Braglia.