I’m sure at the start of this little blog series I said I was only going to do 3 or 4 seasons! Shows you how much I’m enjoying this save even if last season was probably the first season I’ve felt disappointed.
So now we move on to season 5 and there are big big changes afoot, this post is going to take you through the ins and outs and any other news that’s happening during pre-season.
I mentioned in my previous post that there were quite a few players who I felt let me down last season so there are a lot of out, A LOT! And here they all are:
I did warn you didn’t I?!
As mentioned previously my Striker really let me down last season, and the previous season at that. Batschuayi, maybe the most injury Striker in the world was sold, he had actually done OK when he played but just wasn’t fit long enough to make a difference. It’s now Derby’s problem now, we did actually manage to make a profit on him, £1.4m is pretty good. Charlie Austin was also sold for just under what I bought him for and Ross Ridgers was sent out on loan, this leaves me with no Strikers!.
Other first-teamers sold were Harry Bunn (just didn’t feature at all last season), Chris Lowe (wanted to leave), Callum McManaman (rubbish) and Phillip Billing (didn’t live up to his billing). Wilifried Thomas was a player I forgot to mention a few season back, I signed him from Monaco 2 seasons ago for £235k as a prospect for the future, he played 0 games then the big boys came sniffing and he didn’t want to stay, a pretty decent profit though from a player who didn’t get near the first-team.
I also sent Eric Graf, Lewis Smith and Simon Ford on loan, they are close to being fully in my first-team but need a season away to gain some proper experience.
So just over £12m in sales which with our £40m budget gave us a lot to spend, and spend it I did!
No point talking about what I need, let’s just dive straight in and talk about the boys that have joined, I hope your ready:
Gael Clichy – Left Back (Free Transfer)
Old, experienced, call it what you will but Clichy is a fantastic signing for free and will be backup to Ben Davies this season. He has lots of good stats to be a top Premier League full-back still and will definitely do a good job when required.
Zach Clough – Striker (£2.6m from Aston Villa)
Villa went down, Clough wanted to leave, he got transfer-listed and I couldn’t say no. Zach Clough is probably my favourite player on this FM version, with my LCFC save I made him probably the best Striker in the country, if I can make him even half that player he will do a great job for me.
Fernando – Defensive Midfielder (Free Transfer from Manchester City)
Another experienced head for my rather young team, I needed a good solid DM to hold my midfield. Hogg just isn’t good enough and I’ve lost Billing and Graf so Fernando will go straight in my first 11. He has some unbelievable mental and physical attributes and once Graf returns will be man-made tutor for him.
Kostas Fortounis – Attacking Midfielder (£5.5m from Tottenham)
Another transfer-listed player and he has everything I want in an attacking midfielder, he will probably be a backup to Lingard, Pritchard and a signing you will see below. Unlike most of my signings this guy has great technical attributes but lacks slighlty in his physical, at 27 he does still have some time to improve.
Adam Maher – Attacking Midfielder (£7m from West Brom)
My new man to play in behind the striker and my god this guy looks good. He needs to improve his strength and positioning but his technical attributes look great and I hope he will prove to be the difference this season.
Callum Paterson – Right Back (£5m from Aston Villa)
This guy will be my backup Right Back to Tommy Smith but as you can see below he is versatile, he can play anywhere on the right-hand side and even up front if required. He is quite an expensive signing for a backup but I do feel he will add some good depth to my team and with his good heading and jumping and strength could prove to be quite potent from set-pieces.
Cauley Woodrow – Striker (£12.75m from Middlesborough)
A kind of last minute signing, I had Clough as my only Striker and when Woodrow popped up on the transfer-list I had to pounce. I’ve heard good things about him on FM and I really do feel with him and Clough and my 2 Strikers we can definitely improve our goalscoring, I also feel they are a big step up from Austin and Batschuayi.
Lubomir Kocourek – Central Defender (Season long loan from Chelsea)
I needed a 4th choice Central Defender after losing Hoban and this guy fits the bill. Tall, strong, good in the air. He will be a big asset this season and maybe, if he performs well will be signed at the end of the season.
And that is all my signings, a lot I know but all were well thought out and I feel they were all needed. We spent at whopping £32.85m, a net spend of £20m so not too bad.
So after all those in’s and out’s here is how my squad is looking for the upcoming season.
I really do feel this squad is good enough to improve on last season and hopefully try and push towards the top half of the table. We now have strength in depth as well as good experience.
Well not much has changed here, we are still 2000-1 to win the league and stillfavourites to go down.
Hull 5000-1? Could they do a Leicester? Probably not!
As for the board expectations, this hasn’t really changed either, they expect us to avoid relegation and expect us to have a half decent go at the cups.
My expectations are exactly the same as last season. Beat our points tally from last season (41) and try and end higher in the League (15th). I also want a good run in the cups, this means getting to at least the Semi-Final in one of the two competitions.
A new Tactic
I said in my previous post that I wanted to build a 4231 to try and take the game to the smaller teams in the League and here it is:
I’ve decided to have a balanced side with 1 attacking FB and 1 FB on support. Davies is definitely the more attacking FB and compliments Lingard who will play as an IF(a). With Smith being an FB(s) this means Pritchard has the freedom of the right-hand side to play as a W(a). In Central Defence we have a CD(c) and BDP(d), Stephens will act as cover when Davies gets forward and Wollscheid will act as a BPD to bring the ball out and play it into Midfield.
My 2 Central Midfielders are a BWM(s) and a DLP(s), I’ve decided to drop Fernando back into a DM slot just to act as a shield to the back 4, Veretout is a great playmaker and now has the freedom of the midfield to do what he does best.
Maher will play as an AM(s), his aim is to drop into the hole and create chances but also helping out by dropping back into central midfield when required. The Striker is a CF(a), I want him to lead the line, run the channels, hold the ball up and most of all score goals, the CF is the best role for this.
As for Team Instructions, here they are:
The aim here is to keep the ball when required and use the flanks to pounce. I have selected Counter and Structured just because I feel it gives the team the best chance, keep the ball but when we get forward play it quickly and use our creativity and pace to make chances. We have some good dribblers so I have selected “run at defence” and also have “look for overlap” as our full backs are good going forward so will add some help in attacks.
By the way, I am not very good at creating tactics, I have spent a lot of time creating this but who knows if it will work!
Well, that’s all from me now, my next update will be at the end of season 5, let’s hope we can improve on last season.
Thanks for reading