We move onto season four with three years of Premier League riches in our pocket, adding to the money my Hungarian overlords keep giving me. This was the year I’m hoping to push more for at least a Europa league spot I tried to spend big last year to go all out but players turned me down left right and centre as they wanted champions league football which I didn’t have. So I’ve had to go for the more steady approach and we managed to get solid top half finishes in our first two seasons in the top flight so far. Last season I identified the wing backs as primarily my weak link and knew they would have to be replaced if we were to kick on.
The arrivals go to show that spent big as I splashed out a massive £70m on two new wing backs, I brought Englishman Trent Alexander-Arnold to the club from Liverpool for a club record fee of £45m. I again went back in for Kieran Tierney even getting a £35m bid accepted but he refused to consider a move due to no champions league football, so I had to go for my backup plan, German wing back Gian-Luca Itter who arrived for £24m after his arrival I brought in Lukas Mai and Ben Sheaf to strengthen the back three the rest of the players were brought in for the U18’s and U23’s figured we aren’t producing a wealth of promising talent so I’ll do what any self-respecting “big club” would do and go out and buy it from everyone else!
Onto the departures you can see there have been a few surprising ones, mainly Duncan Watmore, the roadrunner just never produced the goods consistently enough and I was happy to move him on for £19m Yann M’Vila was an enforced move as he demanded a new deal and wouldn’t allow me to take out or increase his release clause so when stoke came calling I resigned myself to losing him. I’m pretty happy I managed to get so much for Oviedo whilst decent enough he was being overtaken by Sess in performances and with Itter arrival he was never going to get back into the team as first choice. Fohrenbach left after a year as he become unsettled and wanted a return to Germany, Brittain had moved down the pecking order so was allowed to move on as Matthews is a capable understudy to TAA Maja never performed how I wanted in the prem so he was out as well. The rest is loans of players I ideally want to move on
We got the league campaign off to a brilliant start as Brooks opened our account before Piroe netted in injury time to seal a 2-0 win on the opening day of the season. Despite the blank at Burnley we went on to win our next seven games as Arp finally started to produce the goods as he netted 8 times including twice at west ham, twice at home to Manchester United, and three at home to Southampton. The run also included a good day for South Shields lad Sam Blackman who came off the bench at vicarage Road to net his first goal for the club and the game winner.
We went on a bit of a poor run after that draws with Boro and stoke were unlucky before we slid out of the champions league spots when we had to play the five of the “big six” back to back as we lost most only Blackman’s second of the campaign as he scored deep in injury time against spurs kept us within touching distance of the top 4.With Arp out for the majority of the season with a broken leg I had to look to Brooks for the goals and he truly delivered scoring four in three as we got back on track with a win over Brentford and wins at reading as we moved into the new year.
We went unbeaten in the New Year but we struggled to hang on for wins as we gave up a three goal lead at home to Burnley a one goal lead away at Leicester and despite leading had to come from behind to save a point at home to west ham. At this point we were bouncing between 10th and that Europa league spot in 6th. We made ground up as we nabbed a narrow win at Ipswich before we put four past Southampton again. Before we hot a terrible patch playing well but not getting the results we deserved as me moved to the run in. a 2-0 win at home to Boro picked our spirits up before we went on to lose four on the bounce against Liverpool at home we were level before Mai put into his own net for the second time! At home to spurs we led through Lo Celso but couldn’t hang on as we ran out of legs Arsenal beat us comfortably as did Chelsea we did restore some pride as Arp returned to fitness scored against city with an early goal and we battered them but conceded a corner at the death for a point.
We had four games left to get Europa qualification. We started with two of the bottom three we travelled to Bottom club Brentford’s shiny new Lionel Road stadium where we camped in their box and only a brilliant performance from the keeper failed us to claim a huge win, as Brooks and Mai got on the scoresheet meaning a return to the championship for the bees. The visit of Leicester could put us firmly back in the qualifying mix and after a dull first half, Arp fired us ahead before Lo Celso doubled our lead. A nervy final few minutes saw the foxes pull one back but they fell meaning they needed to win their final two games to survive.
For us it was all about taking the points so that we can finish 7th we didn’t stand a chance in catching the 6th spot, Things didn’t start great as we got a man sent off and had to rely on Arp scoring an equaliser add that to Brooks notching on the final day we managed to claim that 7th spot
As I was going into the league concentrating more on that than the cups I fielded more a reserve/youth team as it gave Ruiter a chance for first team football and some of the fringe players a chance they struggled to a win at home to Rotherham and I had to bring on the big players to see us safely through with Arp scoring the 89th minute winner to set up another championship opponent in Sheffield United the fringe players huffed and puffed before conceding then failing to come up with enough ideas to see us through so the blades took the win.
In the FA Cup it was just as bad as Sessegnon had to score to seal a replay at Brighton before we went down by a narrow goal.
So as you can see Chelsea beat off city to claim the premier league title Luis Enrique’s men retained the trophy they won last year. The premier league is added to the League cup after they beat stoke 2-0 in the final they then completed the domestic treble by beating Southampton in the FA Cup final and handing us a Europa league spot.
Over in Spain it was Real Madrid’s year again as Low’s men retained the la Liga title, In France PSG & Monaco bagged 100+ points each but it was PSG who won the title,
Juventus just managed to pip Napoli to the title by a single point, Bayern claim another title ahead of RB Leipzig with Dortmund third.
In the Europa League the final was at Wembley and contested by two English sides as Arsenal and Liverpool drew 3-3 with the Gunners claiming the trophy on penalties.
The Champions League was in Spain at the Bernebeu, and Verratti and Sallai netted as PSG lifter the trophy as they beat RB Leipzig in the final.
Aims of next season is to really make a push for 6th and try to claim that Europa league spot through the premier league