Friday, 26 September 2008

Southampton is in the Top Four! Champions League dream is nearby...

The result of 33 fixtures is that Arsenal and Man City are behind my Southampton taking the 4th position Hot.  We spent the great series of matches in Premier League and FA Cup you can see below:

We spent the great series of matches in Premier League and FA Cup,  Football Manager 2008

There were some stunning wins like 5:0 over Everton or 5:1 over West Ham and Tottenham.  We lost only one game against Wigan (whom we defeated at home with record score of 8:0) just because of their excellent form and quick forward-killer Billy Sharp. Anyway the series of matches look really impressive! Thumbs-up

The league table is the best I have ever had with The Saints:

The league table is the best I have ever had with The Saints, FM 2008

We still have slight chances to become even champions!

Returning to the matches I would like to pay attention to FA Cup. It was very hard competition for us this year. But we managed to cope with all difficulties (in face of the most hard opponent's drawn for us) and were thinking of winning it... Until The Saints got Portsmouth in the semi-final. Confused

Until The Saints got Portsmouth in the semi-final, FA Cup, FM 2008

Just try to compare the strength of opponents of my club and Portsmouth in the earliest stages of FA Cup!!! How do you like it??? I was full of confidence to win the match on Wembley and pass through the semi-final. Moreover Portsmouth is our arch-rival! Devil

But it happened so that The Saints lost with 2:3 score which was really embarrassing and disappointing. Disappointed

FM 2008, But it happened so that The Saints lost with 2:3 score which was really embarrassing and disappointing

I had some explanations of this loss like injuries of the best players: Demy De Zeeuw, Jelle Vossen, Ismael Bangoura... Or poor morale of Rune Jarstein (GK) after my pre-match comment... But indeed it's a very pity to get out of FA Cup when you had won over Man City, Liverpool (penalties!), West Ham and Arsenal in the previous stages ...

In the end I want to add two small screens with players statistics. Without any comments even Wink

Rating of best assisters of Premier League

Rating of best assisters of Premier League, Football Manager 2008

Rating of best tacklers of Premier League

Rating of best tacklers of Premier League Football Manager 2008

 

P.S.  I see Hull City is winning in the poll at the moment. But Sunderland is still breathing at its back Smile. Meantime other teams are competing for 3rd place... but who knows... Anyway, thanks for your activity my readers! Keep on voting!!! Thumbs-up

Saturday, 20 September 2008

How to get to Champions League zone? I know the answer! :-)

Yep, my expectations before the season were about UEFA cup position and it seemed enough after selling Wijnaldum and media prediction of 12th place.  But now  we can enter the Top Four due to wonderful performance of my Southampton. Entering it always means that you chuck out one of the grand clubs: Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool. And I would add Manchester City to this list because they had become really strong to the 2012/2013 season of my game (for instance, they won home game with Real Madrid with 4:0 score!).

Ok, first take a look a the current Premier League table:

Take a look a the current Premier League table, Football Manager 2008

You see? I believe Southampton is on the way to glory Smile! Though the competition is really hard now and our resulting position in the Premier League can be very different: from  the 10th position till even the 1st! Ye, we have some chance to become champions Smile. At least the performance and playing style of Southampton allow to win any match regardless of opponent's strength! Hot 

 At least the performance and playing style of Southampton allow to win any match regardless of opponent's strength

Chelsea are the leaders now. But we were able to smash them with 4:0 score (2 goals of Bangoura, 1 - Vossen and 1 - Sakho)! Party After that glorious victory Southampton got to the very successful series of 13 matches resulting in 1 loss, 4 draws and 8 wins!!! Because of it I have even been awarded as the best English Premier Division Manager of the Month:

Because of it I have even been awarded as the best English Premier Division Manage of the Month 

By the way, I didn't do any changes in my tactics for gaining such success. It's only result of good transfer politics and smart choosing of positions for different players.

As a matter of fact, I'm happy with my players. They have been really doing their best in the latest series of matches. Especially I want to single out Dmytro Chygrynskyi, Massimo Donati, Benoit Leroy (experiencing the second youth) and Jelle Vossen.

Especially I want to single out Dmytro Chygrynskyi, Massimo Donati, Benoit Leroy (experiencing the second youth) and Jelle Vossen. FM 2008

Massimo Donati is the best assister of Premier League at the moment. Seems like he replaced Wijnaldum in this sense Wink. Though he plays on the different position comparing to our former leader.

Massimo Donati is the best assister of Premier League at the moment, FM 2008

And in the end I would like to introduce you new player of Southampton bought during the winter transfer window - Matthew Spiranovic. I bought him from Watford for $775K only (just because he was angry on the manager who wasn't letting him to go to a bigger club). I didn't do a research for him during this winter period - it was done much more earlier (he is the last in the table at the bottom).

Matthew Spiranovic in Football Manager 2008 

He is rather young Australian DC/DMC. Very determined defensive player being able to win any header. I'm going to use him more as DMC making a competition with Stephane Mbia.

P.S. I'm really interested in your activity about the poll it the right column of this blog on the topic: "What team do you want me to manage in FM 2009?". At the moment this is very interesting competition between people voting for Sunderland and Hull City!! I look through the poll results every day - that's how it is interesting! By the way, dear readers I promise you to take any result of this poll and start managing the club that will get the highest number of votes as soon as I get Football Manager 2009. Soooo - just vote for your team! Thumbs-up

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Premier League Season 2012/2013 - we are beginning! :)

Following the expectations of getting to UEFA Cup my Southampton started the new season. The first fixture with Derby was really disappointing Surprised and I started thinking that the team misses their sold leader Georginio Wijnaldum... But afterwards there happened very confident series of matches against Blackburn, Reading, Portsmouth, Newcastle, Fulham, Arsenal. Due to the results of these matches Southampton came to be on the 3rd position in the Premier League table.

Then some kind of unintelligible breakdown happened. It belongs to the second half of the matches at the picture below.

Then some kind of unintelligible breakdown happened. It belongs to the second half of the matches at the picture below

Strange 1:1 draw against Everton, crazy League Cup match versus Arsenal when they scored the 3rd decisive goal during extra time... Ok, loss to Man City was fair - it's really hard to win away games against them. Manchester City became a really strong football club to this 6th season in FM 2008.

Home 2:4 disaster with Middlesbrough (the team on the 19th position in the table at that moment!) - that was the one I cannot understand at all . The Rivers used very attacking 3-4-3 tactics and unfortunately my defence couldn't cope with it Baring teeth. But just right after this terrible game Southampton performed fantastically against my former club Wigan getting the biggest win to the club's history of records Thumbs-up.

But just right after this terrible game Southampton performed fantastically against my former club Wigan (LINK) getting the biggest win to the club's history of records 

My new main forward Jelle Vossen scored beautiful hat-trick and confirmed that there is no place in the first squad now for our slow old star - Marius Niculae.

After all aforementioned on the picture matches Southampton appeared on the 9th position which is unsatisfactorily. The board is disappointed due to this fact and early League Cup knockout. Of course, it was a bad draw for us to have Arsenal on so early stage (by the way my first drawn opponent in FA cup is Man City :) ) but they do not mind about that I dont know. The board needs just result.

After all matches that aforementioned on the picture Southampton appeared on the 9th position which is unsatisfactorily

But the good thing is that we are very near Champions League zone (not only UEFA cup). Top half teams are very tightly located in the table...

And some player stats for you:

And some player stats for you

Here you can see that few of transferred players can be congratulated with successful debut. First of all - Jelle Vossen. Brilliant striker, master of the first touch scoring and making ball pick ups in the opposition's area! Ismael Bangura showed himself as consistent performer and good dribbler. Though he doesn't score goals for a while. Victor Dobresku became useful winger coming from substitution. He has feeling of goal and likes very much to dribble an opponent player :)

The best old players are Dmytro Chygrynskyi (simply the best defender of Southampton), Massimo Donati (because main assister after Wijnaldum's depature), Daniel De Ridder (I use him as MC with forward arrow).

The current first squad on the tactics screen looks in the following way now:

The current first squad on the tactics screen looks in the following way now

Normally Dobresku is on the substitution bench, Nicolae Mitea - AML, Bangoura - AMR. But now Mitea is injured for 4 months...

Monday, 8 September 2008

Transfers of Southampton before season 2012/2013

The new season expectations demand to have the squad competitive to the best Premier League clubs. Especially when you are media predicted to finish at the 12th position. That's the reason why I spent much time on a transfer marker buying and selling players:

That's the reason why I spent much time on a transfer marker buying and selling players

Sales

Epopee with Wijnaldum was finished - the wonderkid is sold to Aston Villa for $31M. Well, financially this is the good deal because his price was only $13.5M.  I will miss him certainly... About Miralem Pjanic I wrote in the previous post - the chairman made transfer by himself spitting on my opinion. And Daniel Niculae has also left our team for just $4.2M (when his price was $6M).  In contrast to Marius Niculae, Daniel was very unstable and poor performer during the last season. Actually I can acknowledge that it was my transfer failure about him. Though I didn't bought Daniel, just signed him as a free transfer.

Purchases

Purchased players are very interesting to discuss. I have great hopes about them!!! Below I described 5 best of them:

Ismael Bangura

image

After Wijnaldum and Pjanic sales I felt a hot need in new attacking wingers. Therefore Ismael Bangura was bought for large money - $23M. I know him very well in real life as the best forward of Dynamo Kiev (club I'm rooting for since childhood, and actually I live in Kiev :) ). Bangura is fast, technically gifted dribbling player. He can perform very good both with and without a ball having high values of Anticipation, Composure, Off The Ball. His preferred moves are: Moves Into Channels, Shoots With Power. Another his cool feature is position versatility. It doesn't matter for Ismael whether he is AML, AMR or FC!

Nicolae Mitea

image 

Romanian AML bought from Bayern Munich. I think him to become a leading winger together with Bangura. Following his attribute values we can see that he has 17 on Dribbling, First Touch, Tecnique, Anticipation, Acceleration, Pace, Natural Fitness and 16 on Composure, Off The Ball, Stamina. That makes him very dangerous attacking flank player for any opponent. In addition Mitea has one preferred move - Runs With Ball Down Left.

Jelle Vossen

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In the previous post I was reasoning about Marius Niculae's age and his fall of physical attributes.  Low speed and average strength makes him not so dangerous for Premier League clubs as during the last seasons. That's why I decided to buy new striker for the first squad to replace Niculae.

Ok, it's Jelle Vossen. New German champion Schalke sold me their rather young forward for $19.25M. There were many other candidates for FC position but I chose Vossen for his high values of attributes and ability to use both legs. Frankly speaking he is not of Marius Niculae type. Vossen is quick technical forward who will try to score goals from first touch. Meantime Niculae prefers to score shooting a ball with power. Ok, we will see how this new forward from Belgium adapts in the team.

Federico Fazio

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Federico Fazio is Argentinian versatile and strong defensive footballer. There is the same situation as with Marius Niculae. My first squad DC Abdoulaye Meite became 32 and his physical attributes fell perceptibly. So Fazio was signed from Sevilla to replace Meite in the first squad. He has high values of all attributes necessary for central defender. Though he is not so cool as Southampton's best central defender Dmytro Chygrynskyi.

Victor Dobrescu

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Romanian colony in Southampton is growing :) Victor Dobresku was also signed from free transfer. He can play AMR and FC positions and has high-Q pack of preferred moves:  Run With Ball Down RIght, Tries Tricks, Likes To Beat Man Repeatedly. Dobresku is only of 23 years old what promises some prospects in his development. Victor will compete with Ismael Bangura for AMR position, I think. He impresses me with brilliant values of First Touch, Dribbling and Work Rate. Seems like I signed new dribbler instead of Georginio Wijnaldum.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Stadium upgrade, season expectations, media prediction, temptations of players...

Hi all! This post will be about start of preparation to my 6th season in Football Manager 2008. It will be the 4th season of Southampton in Premier League. During the last season we were pretending on UEFA cup place, at least during winter period. Therefore I decided to set serious goal of getting to UEFA cup for my club, just because I think that Southampton players are enough good to achieve this.

Therefore I decided to set serious goal of getting to UEFA cup for my club

What's interesting: we got perceptibly less amount of money for transfers than before the last season. I associate this fact with stadium expansion plans of my board. In 6 months I will get +40% of stadium capacity!

In 6 months I will get the +40% of stadium capacity

Southampton overview info

The next screen shot prepared for you is the overview information about my Southampton. I want to single out some interesting parts of it. Lets go from the top to the bottom of the list!

Favoured Personnel. Yes, Marius Niculae appeared among the most prominent footballers and coaches of The Saints. He deserved that certainly!

Pitch Dimensions. Width and height of the pitch are set up with minimal values. Why? Just because of Southampton tactics where short passing style is used. So we will have some advantage during home matches due to this minimal pitch dimensions.

Training Facilities. Top! Important for having growth of player attributes during trainings.

Media prediction. This is it. They predict only the 12th position for us. As far as this prediction is based on the squad strength you can estimate that the most of Premier League clubs have higher amount of better players. Anyway UEFA cup target is set up, and I will follow it or be sacked :)

image

How to tempt a player in Football Manager 2008?

Yes, how? Your players can be tempted and have ruined morale very easily if you manage such club as Southampton.

The first example is Miralem Pjanic. I have already lost him:

The first example is Miralem Pjanic. I have already lost him

Stupid chairman! I was linking real hopes with this undoubtedly gifted player...

The second example is our best perform of the last season - Georginio Winajldum. There is a really big run on him after he got the best Premier League assister and Best Young Player awards. Chelsea, Juventus, Manchester United, Inter, Milan want to pay $25M for Dutch talent while he costs $13.5M and I set price of $50M! :) We will see how epopee finishes. Wijnaldum is upset that he is not allowed to leave Southampton for bigger football club. His morale is down. So it seems like I have to sell my leader :(

Another problem is with other team leader - Marius Niculae. No, there are no tempting suggestions to buy him. Just because this wonderful forward is 31 years old now. And this is pity because his physical attributes became lower. Speed is rather poor now - only 12. Acceleration is even worse than Pace - 9.

As a result I should start thinking about very, very good transfers for attacking positions (allocated by Wijnaldum and Niculae now) to strengthen our team and be able of achieving UEFA cup place!

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Disappointing season finish by Southampton. Though the goal is reached

I played the second half of my 5th season very quickly. That's why I decided to report about it in a one post that will be rather large. Ok, here the matches:

Matches of the second half

From the last story post you should remember that my Southampton was pretending on UEFA cup place. Unfortunately, the dream doesn't come true because of unstable performance of my team.

Look at the results of matches sequentially. After victory over Arsenal we won away FA Cup match against Liverpool with wonderful score 1:4! Then next game - lost home match to Birmingham missing 3 goals! It was something I can't explain - my players were not able to cope with counter attacks of Birmingham. Then it was another away face-off with Liverpool. Lost 0:1. But the next game was FA Cup match against Birmingham again which resulted in the difficult victory 1:0. So you see The Saints were not able to win 2 matches against a same team in row.

Of course, I would like to single out Chelsea defeat. The football club of Roman Abramovich was thinking only about defence during this game. My midfielders and forwards enclosed The Blues on their half! It was really marvelous!

Then there were 5:0 against Preston, sudden loss to Derby in the replay match, 5:1 against Blackburn... And in the end... When we were really near the so dreamed UEFA Cup position we failed to win the last 4 games of the Premier League championship. Especially poor and unexplainable performance was shown with Watford and Wigan.

After the last Premier League fixture the table standing had the following view:

After the last Premier League fixture the table standing had the following view

I was looking at it and thinking of how it's disappointing to get the 9th position when I could pretend to achieve something more sufficient after all that success in the middle of the season. From the other hand,  it was officially expected by Southampton board to get to the top-half. And I completed this task - the board congratulates me:

the board congratulates me

The championship progress of my team is obvious. We started to defend better, score more, gain more points:

The progress of my team is obvious. We started to defend better, score more, gain more points

The leading star of my club in this season is Geoginio Wijnaldum. This wonderkid was awarded as Best Young Player of Premier League again.

This wonderkid was awarded as Best Young Player of Premier League again

And he is the best assister in the championship! Only Franck Ribery has been competing in this rating with him!

Only Franck Ribery has been competing in this rating with him

Here are the best 10 players of Southampton also:

Here are the best 10 players of Southampton 

I would praise Dmytro Chygrynskiy, Benoit Leroy, Massimo Donati, Stephane Mbia and ,sure, Marius Niculae. These guys can become first squad players anywhere.

Some final nominations from me:

Surprise of the year

1. Benoit Leroy (AMLC/FC) Star  - cool performance during the second half of the season

2. Stephane Mbia (DC/DMC) - supplanted Southampton captain Aaron Mokoena from the first squad!

3. Massimo Donati (DMC/MRC) - I didn't expect that he had scored so much

 

Disappointment

1. Daniel Niculae (FC) - very low finishing from his side. I will sell him! Yawn

2. Martin Fenin (FC) - in the old days prospective forward who is poor scorer now. Seems like I have real problem with substitution forwards.

3. Aaron Mokoena (DC/DMC) - well, he became older and couldn't cope with Mbia for the position of DMC. From the new season Mokoena will loose a captain bandage.

 

Stability

1. Rune Almenning Jarstein (GK) - Rescues Southampton rather often. His attributes grow slowly but constantly.  Star

2. Massimo Donati (DMC/MRC) - simply new leader of the team.

3. Demy De Zeueuw (DMC/MRC) -  again simply new leader of the team. Together with Donati they can overwhelm any centre of midfield of an opposition.

 

Mister Flamboyant

1. Georginio Wijnaldum (AM LRC/ FC) - He is a wonderkid now. Wanted by many grand clubs. His speed, dribbling and assists are great! Cowboy

2. Marius Niculae (FC) - 30 years old but score a lot. Sometimes his power strikes get to the top 3 goals of the month.

3. Daniel De Ridder (AMRC) - Became one of the best players during winter rush matches against Man City, Man Utd, Arsenal...

 

Most Valued Professional

1. Georginio Wijnaldum Applause

2. Marius Niculae

3. Dmytro Chygrynskiy

 

Previous posts of Southampton story for 2011/2012 season:

Southampton. Superb performance during winter rush fixtures of Premier League

New Strength in Premier League - Southampton!

Starting New Season: the First Achievements

Hot Transfers and High Expectations of the New Season in FM 2008