Past and Present #4

Dave Black (@CM9798) continues with the fourth part of his FM19 series. If you've not checked out Dave's past work based on Championship Manager 97/98, then I'd highly recommend following him on twitter and checking out his website dedicated to CM 97/98 https://cm9798.wordpress.com

Hello and welcome back to what is already a bit of a struggle. I’m more used to spending my time on CM9798 and the past in general. The modern world is new and scary. Filled with options. Words I’m not familiar with like Mezzala. The end result is that my only win to date was a Carabao Cup tie and even then, we had to come from behind. The fixture list has been tough, at least that’s what I’m clinging on to. But up next is Huddersfield away. That’s more our level. Isn’t it?

I learned a lot from that solitary win. We hit the panic button at 1-0 down and played a lot more attacking against a weaker opponent. We netted 3 times late on and won comfortably. There’s a saying about dying on your feet than living on your knees and whilst we’re not quite dying, we’ve got a banging headache and I’m going to pop 2 paracetamols by playing a more attacking lineup. Does that work as a motto?

We have a lot of the ball but there’s very little being created. Then, as usual, we go behind. A cross from the left evades everyone and Zinchenko, on loan from Man City, rattles it home. Balls.

Those balls get hairier just before half time as a set piece isn’t cleared and Jonathan Hogg makes it 2-0. This has backfired.

I rip into everyone at half time and we’re a lot better. Matt Ritchie reduces the arrears and we have a lot of territory without really looking like equalising. It’s a loss. It’s a disaster. It’s a problem.

There’s a week until the Burnley game which already looks quite big. I’m sticking with the same team except Ki is back in as he’s recovered. I know Burnley will be direct but that shouldn’t be a problem.

So we’re passing it about and it goes back to Dubravka. He takes a touch and then…sort of leaves it outside his 6 yard boxes and goes for a wander. Has he seen his lost dog? Hypnotism? I don’t know but either way, he left his post and Ashley Barnes capitalised. That’s not ideal. The usual half time chat has minimal effect and Chris Wood knocks in the second from a cross. Ritchie halves the deficit, again, but it’s yet another loss. This is a disaster.

The next round of the Carabao Cup and we’re off to Watford. A harsh draw considering we had Premier League opposition in the previous round but it barely matters. I keep the system but change most of the personnel. The first highlight is a free kick to Watford awarded after VAR. Why? I’m not sure. Either way it gets curled in and we’re behind. It’s soon 2-0 and I didn’t want to win the cup anyway.

Muto does get us back into it but even though Andre Gray is sent off and we spend the last 25 minutes on very attacking, we don’t even get a highlight.

I think it’s time for a formation tweak. Sessegnon is fit so why not go to the wingbacks system but with wingers? Yeah. That’ll work.

There is of course the chance that it won’t. A drab first half is only briefly lit up when Ritchie hits the bar with a free kick. But after half time Ki puts us in front and maybe I am a tactical genius after all! Everything is going to be fi…oh it’s 1-1. Michael Keane from a free kick routine. Darn.

We’re playing well though and as the clock ticks round to 87 we’re on the attack. A ball in from Kenedy finds Ritchie round the back and his header beats Pickford but is hacked off the line by Keane. Great defending and probably as close as we’ll come to winning a match.

What’s this though? From the same highlight, Everton are on the attack. A cross from the left and Dominic Calvert-Lewin arrives to break our hearts. Oh my that’s a kick in the balls. Seamus Coleman adds a third in injury time as we are still shell shocked by what has just been witnessed. Why bother?

One more game to get through before the International break. Tottenham at home. Great. I’m going back to 4-2-3-1, it seems like the right thing to do.

It might be. Perez gives us an early lead, finishing a through ball beautifully. Dele Alli soon levels and then Kane makes it 2-1. For crying out loud.

Into the second half and Ritchie hits the woodwork with a free kick, yet again. Lovely Ki does equalise though, passing the ball into the corner from the edge of the box. My hero. With the fans loving life again we stream forwards. Kenedy finds Muto who slots home. Jubilation. Offside. A point is better than a loss…

No win in 8 and into the bottom 3. There’s a lot of work to be done.

The fact that there are two other teams also winless fills me with glee. We should be better than we are. I am most likely the problem but only time will tell. Join me next time for part 5, hopefully it doesn’t prove to be the final edition.

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