Welcome back to my LOSC Career Mode 3 Season Challenge series. So, following on from update #1, we entered into October 2019 with a Champions League group stage match at home to Chelsea. My squad at this point was beginning to get fatigued, even Maignan the GK was no longer entering games at 100% stamina. After my 7-0 over Ajax, I figured I would make some squad changes now to help my league form continue through the coming weeks and to stay with the top 2 who were both undefeated, PSG leading the way 8 wins from 8 with only 2 goals conceded!
For Update #1 see below:
My scouts had returned from their first locations so I sent the 4*4* to Switzerland and the other scout to Canada. I haven’t filled my youth squad yet but at the moment it’s looking like:
|Thierry Konate||GK||16||62||71-94 (R23)||£500k||Ivory Coast|
|Stephane Pinot||CB||17||55||57-71 (R14)||£100k||France|
|Alain Camara||CB||15||47||60-74 (R14)||£50k||Ivory Coast|
|Hugo Martin||RB||16||58||74-94 (R20)||£230k||Belgium|
|Alexandre Ferrier||LB||16||56||63-85 (R22)||£150k||France|
|Romain Maes||CM||15||53||68-84 (R16)||£120k||Belgium|
|Yves Diallo||CM||17||51||47-65 (R18)||£45k||Ivory Coast|
|Mathis Vandenbroeck||RM||15||54||63-85 (R22)||£120k||Belgium|
|Frank Soro||LM||16||54||70-90 (R20)||£130k||Ivory Coast|
|Xavier Courbet||ST||15||48||76-94 (R18)||£70k||France|
|Matthieu Garnier||ST||16||44||53-65 (R12)||£40k||France|
|Daouda Ouattara||SUB GK||17||62||70-86 (R16)||£450k||Ivory Coast|
|Antoine Cartier||SUB RB/LB||16||46||54-72 (R18)||£40k||France|
|Cedric Paillard||SUB CM||16||46||78-94 (R16)||£70k||France|
|Cedric Moreau||SUB RM/LM||15||48||75-94 (R19)||£70k||France|
Analysing the Youth squad, we’re still missing a CB & ST. We’ve gained two solid Ivorian GK’s both over 60 rated at 16/17 with potentials above 70 with Konate being the starter as he’s showing greater potential. The central defence options aren’t great but we have a solid foundation in the Senior squad anyway. The RB Hugo Martin is looking promising, ideally I want him to get that OVR to 60 which if he did would give me a better justification for signing him as our 3rd choice RB instead of signing externally. The best minimum potential lies in our Central Midfield SUB Cedric Paillard who is guaranteed 78 potential, almost showing great potential, however he is only 46 rated at 16 years old so I fear he’ll never develop enough to even play a couple of times for Lille during this career. Out wide we need some development with 54 overalls for both. The most worrying issue is the ST options an area I really wanted to see a potential reserve striker in. Currently we have, 15 year old, Xavier Courbet who’s unable to be signed and, 16 year old, Matthieu Garnier who doesn’t look like he has the makings of a future Lille player. Fingers crossed we don’t see any injuries until the ST situation improves.
One thing I’m also considering is an amendment to the training rule. I’m finding in this year’s FIFA there is an issue with stamina drain during matches. I’m not someone that sprints everywhere and Lille don’t use crazy heavy pressing tactics; they press on heavy touch with middle bars on everything else tactic wise. Yet I find my team draining so much quicker than the opposition. I’m planning to try and grin and bear it and just ride through the issue, but I think amending my training rule to allow youth players to build their stamina to 70 doesn’t sound too unrealistic and would mean they wouldn’t be gassed by the end of the first half. Youth players should be fairly fit and whilst not yet fully adjusted to the adult game they’ll still have that base fitness in them and I think 70 is a fair figure. In FIFA 20 there is only one drill “Keep Up The Pace” that trains stamina. It’s a bronze drill that also trains dribbling, ball control, and sprint speed. I’ll have to use that to do this. It shouldn’t affect the players’ growth too much and the fact it’s a bronze it will take a while to complete anyway. Provided players aren’t being pushed way above 70 from the YA then their physicals won’t suffer from this. The positions overalls are made up of key stats mainly, see below table (this might be out of date for FIFA 20 as it’s based off FIFA 16):
So the biggest issue is that 39% of the Wide Midfielders overall can be trained using this drill. My hope is that good wide midfielders should have weighted stamina more heavily so it won’t take much training to reach that 70 stamina rating. Overall the thoughts are that this is a bronze drill so players will have plenty of time to grow naturally in other areas. We’re limiting the growth of stamina to 70 which prevents over training. We shouldn’t see crazy growing players due to this (hopefully).
In terms of who gets trained, I only want to train people that meet one of these two criteria:
1. They are higher than 60 overall therefore a proven young talent
2. They have potential greater than or equal to 80 therefore showing great potential (this means their MINIMUM potential in their range must be 80, a 79-94 range for their potential doesn’t cut it).
Doesn’t matter age etc. It’s annoying to make this change midway through the series but it’s still relatively early days. I’ve applied this change to the official rules now, it will also apply to the senior squad for those 21 and younger – no rule on doing YA players first or last, do the order that you prefer. For me I’ll probably go back and make sure all my senior players that are 16-21 have 70 stamina before going to the YA. I also ignore GK’s as stamina is sort of irrelevant for them.
For Lille at the start of the game the following players would need Stamina Training: (prioritising by age, then role, then ST’s first, then OVR)
|Player||Age||Overall||Role & Position||Stamina|
|S. Agouzoul*||21 (was 22 in Sep)||67||Reserve CB||50|
|Gabriel||21 (22 on Dec 19th)||78||Starting CB||67|
|H. Ouro-Sama||21 (22 on Dec 28th)||65||Reserve CB||58|
|R. Droehnle||20 (was 21 in July)||63||Reserve CB||57|
|I. Faraj||20 (21 in Feb)||65||Reserve RM||53|
|E. Bocat||19 (was 20 in July)||64||Reserve LB||66|
|J. Onana||19 (20 on Jan 8th)||65||Reserve CM||62|
|C. Niasse||19 (20 on Jan 19th)||64||Reserve CB||57|
|T. Weah||19 (20 in Feb)||69||Sub ST||58|
|V. Postolachi||19 (20 in March)||64||Reserve ST||61|
|Tiago Djalo||19 (20 in April)||69||Sub CB||59|
*No longer valid for the training due to age
From the table you can see we’ve already missed out on Agouzoul but I don’t think that will be detrimental to the future of the club as he doesn’t get played too often. It’s important we train Gabriel before December as he starts for us regularly, Oura-Sama is important too as he’ll be illegible for training by then too.
Looking to the next game: Home vs Chelsea in the Champions League 01/10/2019
With that being said, I was particularly feeling my lack of ST’s as I had to start 4th choice Postolachi with both Weah & Remy suffering from fatigue, meaning I had no ST’s on the bench either (two wide midfielders). A few changes on the bench too meant my midfield replacements wouldn’t be world class and then ultimately I gave Maignan a game to recover (perhaps not a wise decision considering this is CL) because I felt that the league performance was going to be a tougher objective than reaching the round of 16 in the CL (famous last words?). If I were to suffer an injury I would seriously have to consider looking at free agents to replace because my youth academy rated 44 is not good enough at the end of the day. Signs are that he wouldn’t even have the potential!
I got off to a great start in the first half around 30 minutes in managing to find Araujo (replacing the tired Bamba) on the far side of the six yard box for a slot in. Overall it was a fairly tight game with chances falling to both sides and both keepers doing well. Just before the break I managed to bag a second goal with a cross from inside the box to the awaiting Renato Sanches to make it 2-0 leading into the break. The second half opened as the majority of the first half had been, fairly tight match ups with good defensive work backed up with good saves when necessary. I made changes to take off Sanches around 60 mins in, hoping he would be fit enough for the league match and I also took of Ikone on the right hand side for the same reasoning. I then had to take a break from the game for a while due to home commitments (the problem with 10 minute halves). I returned later in the evening having had a beer and whether it was that (excuses lol) or just my poor play, but Chelsea were able to abuse my young LB Bradaric, Willian was looking dangerous every time he got given the ball and Bradaric looked out of his depth. On the 75th minute they scored following a break which Willian picked up before slotting it past Leo Jardim. One mistake looking back on the game now for this goal was that I should have been playing on defensive from the 60th minute subs and I don’t think I made that change. That would have kept the Central Midfielders back for defensive duties and sured up the centre for the break. Then in the 86th minute Willian broke down on the left and had the yard on Bradaric that he needed to produce a cross that found Giroud in the air, which is where you don’t want him operating from, to produce the equalising goal and the game finished 2-2. Heartbreak and despair as that would have been a great cushion having 6 points in the CL probably only needing another 4 or so to qualify for the Ro16. (Apologies for the sheer wall of text but I didn’t have chance to get screenshots of the match.) Chelsea manage to pick up their first points in Europe after losing 1-0 to Valencia in the first round. In the other Champions League game Ajax managed to beat Valencia 2-1 giving them 3 points too. This left Group H looking like:
After the game we returned back and I had some managerial duties to perform. It’s around this time of the year when I begin discussing with players about their contracts and futures at the club. I put Gaitan and Zekaj on the transfer list, and put Droehnle and Zeka up for loan. Next I began to look at the players whose contracts I needed to review:
One Year Remaining:
L. Remy – retiring at end of season, a shame to lose a core French player so early on but ultimately when players reach certain ages there’s a % chance they’ll request to retire, not sure if the fact his contract was due to renew made it even more likely.
N. Gaitan – player transfer listed, discussed in the initial overview of Lille, a good player but he doesn’t have the flexibility that keeps with Lille’s formation and I’m not changing tactics or formations.
J. Pied: age 30, value: £2,500,000 Current Role: Rotation
Ideally I want to keep Pied to plug gaps but he’s already declined by 1 due to lack of play time and being over 30. Season three will possibly see the introduction of a new RB if Celik doesn’t grow enough and with that Celik will drop to number 2 and my YA RB ideally would be slot number 3. Originally signed on a 2 year deal I think that would be my target. Hopefully he will accept a sporadic role but I may have to move up to rotation during negotiations. I won’t be giving him a rise as his value doesn’t warrant a large salary.
Starting XI with 3 years or less remaining:
Jose Fonte: CB – 35 years old – 2 years remaining – Value: £3,400,000 Current Role: Crucial
His final year of his contract he’ll be 36 and chances are he’ll want to retire that year. I want to aim to extend his contract by 1 year so that he’ll be 38 when he retires but if he chooses not to accept it’s understandable. If I could move his role to important that would be perfect. We have up and coming CB’s in their peak that may grow higher than him or he may decline lower than their ratings. (Soumaoro and Alonso currently on out on loan).
M. Maignan GK: 24 years old – 3 years remaining – Value £ 21,500,000 Current Role: Crucial
He’s still got 3 years left but I want to tie him down for as long as possible as he is crucial to this team being the highest rated player and being 82 (now 83) rated is 4 ratings higher than the average rating for his position at a 78 rated team. I want him to sign a Crucial XI as that’s what he’ll be. His expected salary will be higher than the wage cap for the season so we will offer him £48k per week and throw in bonuses where we can to help him sign. As per the LFP rules though we can’t use a release clause to help us.
Players with Potential with 3 years or less remaining:
These players I want to make sure have fairly lengthy contracts to help keep other clubs from trying to make cheap offers for them. They are showing that their potential will reach higher than 80 and I want to make sure if they are sold I receive appropriate compensation. Some of these players may well be in the reserves and aren’t critical to the future of our club but I don’t want them assisting other clubs on the cheap.
B. Soumare CDM/CM: 21 years old – 3 years remaining – Value £10,000,000 Current Role: Rotation
Soumare is a regular bench player for us and is showing great potential at 21 years old and started the season at 75 rated. He has grown since and I believe he will be a regular starter in season 3 with Sanches and Xeka on the bench. Or the three will rotate. I see him as part of my future so we will always have protection from offers there. However I’d like to tie him down for a longer term contract, especially while he still could accept a squad rotation role contract. His minimum salary will be £25k per week.
I. Faraj RM: 20 years old – 3 years remaining – Value £1,300,000 Current Role: Prospect
Third choice right wide midfielder. He is showing great potential however I expect he won’t be part of my future with us only being here for 3 seasons and having alternatives like Ikone and Yazici ahead of him who are both young and likely to grow still (Ikone an exciting prospect). This contract will be to turn him from one of our young prospects to a sporadic player. But the chances are at some point we may get offered on him and we might have to sell him for 1.4x his value.
It’s always important for me to appreciate the future plans for each player as a manager would do. A note here, this was my first career mode on FIFA 20 and having only owned FIFA 17 I didn’t realise that when you talked about contract length it was the new length of contract and NOT the number of years extension on the contract. I went through with 4/5 of the talks and then realised I’d signed Jose Fonte onto a 1 year contract when he had 2 years remaining? I didn’t even realise that was even possible IRL. Anyway here’s how the talks went the 2nd time round:
|Name||Age||Target Squad Role||Actual Squad Role||Target Contract Length||Actual Contract Length||Release Clause||Current Weekly Salary||New Weekly Salary||Signing Bonus||Targets Bonus|
|J. Pied||30||Sporadic||Rotation||2 years||2 years||£5 million*||£23k||£23k||£0||£0|
|Jose Fonte||35||Important||Important||3 years||3 years||X||£26k||£26k||£0||£0|
|M. Maignan||24||Crucial||Crucial||5 years||5 years||X||£29.5k||£48k||£0||£0|
|B. Soumare||21||Rotation||Rotation||5 years||5 years||X||£19k||£25k||£0||£0|
|I. Faraj||20||Sporadic||Prospect**||5 years||5 years||X||£5.8k||£5.8k||£0||£0|
**Tried to see if he would accept prospect and he did surprisingly at 20 years old. In hindsight I think sporadic would have been more realistic and hopefully this won’t come back to haunt me via unhappy players seeing a prospect get game time or something. In future I will make my target squad role what I offer, no messing around.
I found a lot of the negotiations tried to get players to get less pay than their current salaries which just didn’t make sense to me, Maignan only wanted £26.5k plus a signing bonus and performance bonuses.
I then went and updated the following players contracts as they had release clauses in which shouldn’t exist.
|Name||Age||Squad Role (none changed)||Contract Length||Market Value at Negotiation||Previous|
|Previous Weekly Salary||New Weekly Salary||Signing Bonus||Targets Bonus|
|L. Chevalier||17||Prospect||5 years||£500k||£1.3 mil||£450||£450||£45k||£0|
|S. Agouzoul||22||Sporadic||5 years||£1.3 mil||£2.3 mil||£6.8k||£7.7k||£77k||£38.5k (5 weeks) after 5 appearances|
|T. Weah||19||Sporadic||5 years||£3.75 mil||£5 mil||£9.5k||£9.5k||£95k||£0|
Actually had quite a bit of back and forth during the negotiations. They all ended with no release clause which was my goal however Agouzoul was very demanding, his minimum salary was only £3.25k per week and we were already paying him £6.8k per week. He was agreeing to the no release clause and a 5 year contract at 22 so I would likely have him around his peak which rationalised this extra spend in my head. The other two asked for less salary with signing bonuses so I just paid them the same and gave them a signing bonus as a thank you for saying no release clause. In the future I will aim to always listen to what players ask for. If they ask for a release clause the rules state I must reject however if they ask for a signing bonus and/or a targets bonus then I’ll give them something around the base of a 10 week pay signing bonus and for every unit of the bonus they’re after (goals clean sheets or appearances) they gain an extra week of a bonus. It was on writing this paragraph that I realised I actually gave Chevalier a whopping 100 WEEK SIGNING BONUS. More than he’ll earn in a year!
My next fixture was Nimes Olimpique at home. Ater that squad change out it was time to prove my decision making was correct and seek a good performance in this league game as I hoped to stay with the pack at the top. Currently they’re 9th in the table 3W 2D 3L and haven’t won in their last three games.
Looking to the calender I had a nice break following this followed by a league game at Toulouse, midweek against Valencia in the CL at home. Another home game against Girondins and ending the month with a Coupe de la Ligue match against Olimpique Marseille which would be a second team game.
Just before the game kicked off I received confirmation that Yazici was back in training but I looked at his stamina and he wouldn’t be ready for the match. I had a somewhat childish text from Zekaj expressing that he wasn’t all that keen to play here anyway after I transfer listed him which I dealt with in a balanced manner. Looking to the next match despite Weah and Postolachi being in excellent form, every regular starter, in the positions Weah and Postolachi could play, was also in excellent form so they had to be left out.
05/10/2019 – Ligue Un – Home vs Nimes Olimique
I was able to field my ideal starting XI as I knew there was an international break coming up. The only change I made was taking Yazici off the bench as he wasn’t quite ready and giving Araujo his spot there instead.
Felt like Nimes were the better side in quite a tight first half. I held onto the ball well but really struggled to create beyond their back line. Maignan made some quality saves and kept Lille alive, Ripart was dangerous every time he was given the ball. On the 43rd minute Remy turned his man, broke past the back line and found Osimhen free on the opposite side of the six yard box who slotted it past the GK to start the scoring. Just as we celebrated, some shoddy defending at the back allowed Nimes to break, Maignan rushed out but they managed to slot a through ball to Ripart who’d broken from his markers and tapped in to equalise and end the first half at 1-1.
Second half was a completely different story, straight out the gate we played well down the right side, Remy again breaking past, this time Osimhen had a man marking him, but running in from deep was Bamba and with a ground cross to the far side he had an easy tap in. Next Bradaric had pushed up, Bamba pulling the RB wide to the outside, this left Osimhen marked solely by a CB, Bradaric gave the pass just as Osimhen began his run, he knocked it past his man cut inside and then slotted it top corner near side making it 3-1 and me starting to think the game was done. Just as I look to make subs and go defensive, Ripart finds space in the box and passes the ball back just as I lunge in and give them a penalty! Ripart sends Maignan left and shoots right to make it 3-2 and me left worrying if this is going to be one of those games. However, all of a sudden whether it was poor tactically judgement from the AI that lead to desperate attacks forward but I found Nimes throwing men forward multiple times. I managed to capitalise not once, not twice, but three times after with Osimhen grabbing two more goals and even CM Andre grabbing a goal from a counter. Ultimately the game finished 6-2, I had 60% possession and Osimhen was certainly the man to watch with 4 goals, meaning 9 goals in his last 4 games! Bagging a 10.0 rating and man of the match.
As we were due a break I thought this would be an excellent time to quickly review our overall position in the league and how our players were doing.
As you can see PSG were storming the league. 9 wins from 9 games and only 2 goals conceded; simply outrageous! Something that is very typical in this FIFA is the top teams dominating and the bottom teams barely scraping 10 points together. It is what it is… It reduces the realism for those career modes where you’re fighting relegation and makes winning the league feel like you’ve gamed the game somewhere, but there’s not much we can do about it other than play different versions of FIFA (this will contribute to reasons why I probably won’t be purchasing FIFA 21). Marseille bring up second place again undefeated but with a draw. Only 4 goals conceded then we are sat in 3rd with a very respectable 22 points from 9 games. We are yet to play some of the big boys, we’ve only played 2 of the other teams in the top 8. We’ll face heavy challenges from PSG, Marseille, and Lyon as they’re the main contenders for the top 3 it seems. Lyon hold the Europa league with a 4 point gap to fifth.
The top scorers aren’t quite as you’d expect. Benedetto of Marseille is leading the pack with 9 goals from 9 games; very impressive. Followed by the “unknown” talent of Mbappe with 7 from 9. Then in third is our man Osimhen after his incredible four goals against Nimes he’s bagged 6 goals from 7 matches in the league. Briand of Bordeaux has been impressing so far, the 33 year old grabbing 5 goals from 9 for a team that isn’t even in the top 8. With Payet of Marseille finishing the top 5 with the same tally in the same matches. In my view, Icardi should be 4th due to him scoring 5 in 7 but that’s FIFA for you. Due to game time, one of the world’s best Neymar is down in 13th with only 4 goals but in only as many matches.
He may have reduced game time but Neymar’s still been doing bits for PSG, contributing to 9 goals in 4 matches with 5 assists. Rongier of Marseille is 2nd with as many assists in 9 matches, Monconduit of Amiens, Niang of Stade Rennais, and Mbappe of PSG all on 4 assists in 9 matches. Lille’s highest representative is Remy in 7th spot with 3 assists from 7 matches (again he should be 6th due to having less game time), in his final season he’s turned into provider from scorer.
As expected with only two goals conceded PSG’s Navas leads the Clean sheets (must have been 1 goal in 2 games). Mandanda is next with 6 from 8. Then in joint 3rd we have Lyon’s Lopes, Lille’s Maignan, and Reims’ Rajkovic. Although as unbiased as I am, some of the saves Maignan has been making have been absolutely unreal. He is proving to me why he is the highest rated player in our team. I’m praying we never have to sell him but being over 23 years old, if someone offered double his value I’d have to or use my one reject of the window…
Next we’ll look at in depth at our team instead of comparisons across the league. I’ll look at growth monthly but the analysis will be looked at once every three months or so. At this point I would start to compare who has grown the most so far, and occassionally do a little write up on them if they’d been featuring in my matches. However, at the moment there is just a lot of people who have grown one and Pied who has declined by 1 OVR so I will leave it for October and focus in November if there are changes.
As you can see Osimhen leads the goals scored with 12 goals from 12 and 5 assists meaning he has created 17 goals for Lille. Very impressive 20 year old, an exciting prospect that is a big part of the future. I’ll only sell him if someone were to offer 3x his value as per the rules. It’s promising to see the young T. Weah shining too, creating 10 goals, 6 of them off his own boot. He’s showing great potential, if he keeps this up he’ll easily be benching next season on a regular basis when Remy retires the concern is that as a bench player and not someone that is crucial to the future if someone offered 1.75x his value I’d have to sell him (my only hope is that no club at my level or above will be after him just yet). Ikone, another exciting prospect has proved very useful up front too, bagging 5 goals and assisting 3. I would love to see those assists increase a little but still very impressive.
Most Assists – L. Remy
Next, almost equally as important as the goals is the creation of the chances. In first we have our veteran soon to be retired Remy with 6 assists in all competitions. Osimhen rears his head again with 5, followed by T. Weah and the engine in midfield R. Sanches with 4 each.
So as you would expect Maignan leads clean sheets and will most likely always lead clean sheets, in future I’ll rotate the players we see on these pictures if they keep repeating. I wanted to use this spot to highlight any patterns with the defensive minded players we play and clean sheets. For example, Celik and Ikone on the right hand side seems to be an impressive duo giving us 5 clean sheets when working together stopping progress down the right hand side. Due to how early in the season we are we’re not seeing any clear indicators yet. I do notice a change when I’m not playing my starting CB’s as the AI seems to find ways behind easier possibly due to that experience of Fonte not being there. He doesn’t play as many games as the others which is possibly why you don’t see him here.
Moving on in the Career:
Following the Nimes game I quickly looked up Ripart as he shone from their team, and sent a scout to find information on the french 26 year old.
Then we had an international break to progress through before our next game away at the Stadium de Toulouse. During this break we had an offer of £570k for Zekaj which I accepted instantly from Swiss side FC St Gallen where I’ll imagine he’d play as a rotation player. They managed to agree terms and off Zekaj went, the board granting me an additional £400k in transfer budget (sweeeet). It was at this point I realised my estimations from earlier didn’t take into account all the agent fees we’d have to pay and therefore although I’ll agree £570k I’ll only get around 70% of the fee back. This was obviously outside of the transfer window and therefore would be treated as a pre-contract agreement for January.
Toulouse FC vs LOSC Lille 19/10/2019 at the Stadium de Toulouse:
I made several changes to the Starting XI as I wanted to make sure I had as fresh a lineup as possible for Valencia as a win there could potentially mean less resources needed for the following three Champions League games. I kept Remy on the bench due to his low stamina rating and planned to swap him with Osimhen at half time. I replaced Ikone with Yazici as he was back from injury, swapped out Sanches for Xeka in the middle, and played a weakened back four with Reinildo out wide on the left, the aging Pied on the right, and young CB Djalo got a call up to rest Fonte for the CL match.
Hope you enjoyed that match highlights reel! I’ll continue to provide write ups and match facts after the video tape which will cover more details of the game such as subs, my thoughts during the game etc. Apologies after initially scheduling this I noticed when it was actually online and embedded into the post the sound of the music really ramped up! I’ll make note of that for the next video.
In the first half we were absolutely dominated by Toulouse. They finished with a total of 11 shots with 6 on target and were 1-0 up at the break. Their goal: a break down our left hand side, Dossevi finding a gap between Reinildo and Gabriel broke past the back line, ran into the box at the young Djalo who was trying to cover Sangare too, held him up with some step-overs, broke deeper and found a half yard to pass the ball into Sangare who had the simple job of placing it past Maignan from six yards. Maignan really saved our bacon a lot in this half. Multiple saves, getting us out of jail. Our defence couldn’t cope.
I didn’t switch Osimhen at half time, not deliberately, but I swapped out Bamba for Ikone despite Ikone not being able to play LM (this isn’t strictly abiding by the rules! At the time this was rationalised as “he’s a wide midfielder” but in future I’ll have to avoid doing this). As we started the second half I was worried it was going to be another version of the first with a quick early shot off target. Then again another chance a minute later! Finally we managed to break down the middle with Postolachi, a sliding challenge from the last defender clipped his foot and he started to lose his balance, I was holding for a penalty at this point but it didn’t come! Frantically Postolachi flicked the ball away from the oncoming GK who ended up tripping him entirely and giving away the penalty himself! No booking or red card surprisingly. Osimhen stepped up and placed it in the top right of the goal to level the score. At that point I took him off and brought Remy on in prep for the Champions League, he’d got a bit too tired for my liking but I needed that goal. After that we seemed to find our feet, pushing forward regularly getting several shots off. We won ourselves a corner which was whipped in, and cleared high in the air, Yazici took a shot on the volley that had real venom and was saved, scrappy football ensued as Osimhen tried to push it in to the net, blocked by a defender and then spilled to the side as Postolachi gave his all and got to the ball in time to just toe poke it across the line giving us the lead! Undeserved as it may have been. At that point we tried to control the game, gained possession played slower, preserving my players’ stamina where I could. The game then ended 2-1.
After this game I looked at my phone and saw a text from Gaitan, the old CAM that I have transfer listed. He was asking for more playing time or he’d reconsider his future. I wasn’t afraid to let him know the team wasn’t about him as I was letting him go ASAP anyway.
Join me next time where we’ll dive straight into the Champions League game build up. We’ll also go through the final two fixtures of October. Apologies for the length of these articles, it’s still a learning experience for me with these. I’m slowly learning what my output can be weekly and the ways I prefer to do talk about the games etc. I hope you’re enjoying these so far though! If you are please let me know what you like or what you would change.
For next week’s installment please either subscribe to my blog so that you’ll receive a notification on any posts I make, or once it’s posted there will be a link below directly to that page.