We started the season with Optimism the club had finished in the top half of the premier league for the first time in 20 years! we had money to spend and were looking to move on some of the questionable buys of our past, the first arrival was big money as i splashed out £30m to bring Pickford back to the club he was always the long term aim and plan for goalkeeper so a year after leaving he returns for the same fee due to Everton struggling last year.
A handful of players left the club this past summer I finally agreed a £15M Deal to offload Kone to Everton I did this as I don’t like him in real life he’s lazy and was only propping up my defence until I brought in a new replacement. The next bunch out the door were Khazri to Bournemouth who was surplus to requirements Wilson was a shock I got so much for him he was ageing and I didn’t really need him so was happy to pick up nearly four million for him, if you look a little lower on the screenshot Jason Steele signed on a free to Man City, I had zero takers for him when I offered him out for £100k, but I offered him out for nothing City went for it which makes no sense as he wasn’t even my number one keeper! Only a year after joining I moved on Whatmough and Bedia both didn’t live up to promise Bedia spent most of his time injured so decided to cut my losses also Ndong complained about his lack of game time mainly due to MVila playing in his position so I accepted nearly £7m to move him on too, the big shock was in January when Chelsea offered £45m for Chalobah i was in too minds as he was my captain and influential in the dressing room and on the pitch but he wanted to return to Chelsea so took the money.
Joining Pickford on the new signings list were a great deal to be honest, Mejia, Melligan, Ralston, Almeida and Kristoffersen were all signed for the U23’s so expect to see these names over the next season or two as I look to bring them into the first team fold. The main signings were Pickford, once that deal was done I set about rebuilding my defence with the moving on of Kone & Wilson Beadling not making the cut I needed an injection of new players in came Nairn for £2m a big outlay for such a young player but my scouts all highly recommended him, same with John Souttar both the Scottish lads played around 10 times last season and both done well but McNair is the rock of my back three and with the arrival of Salcedo from Olimpia who my scouts picked up before I noticed @DMendoza had him in his squad I took the gamble alongside Saul was Fohrenbach on a free not the best CB in the world and he may be moved on if the Scots step up but decent enough squad player to keep us going. If you have looked at the picture you should see Gio Lo Celso I bought him as he was transfer listed and so cheap but had ZERO idea on where to use him my initial thoughts were back up to Pineda but when Chalobah left I’m considering using him as more a DLP even though I’m at the end of this season I’m still not sure which way to go! so any ideas let me know at @FMAcidphire21 Weston McKennie the Texan midfielder was signed as Chalobahs replacement and for £35m was a big outlay hes struggled to adapt a bit to the premierleague but im confident he will come good as he performed well in europe for us.
So onto the new season and we couldn’t have started much better as we pushed Manchester United at the top as a group of early leaders, we had no out-and-out scorers we got decent wins over Reading and a surprising narrow win over Chelsea, spurs and Arsenal as Brooks and Arp stared will netting three times each with Lo Celso grabbing 2 and Chalobah hitting 2, we were unlucky against Burnley as we spurned numerous chances same against Leicester they hit us on the break for the points when it looked likely it was heading for a draw but we still went to old Trafford to play united in a top of the table clash! where…..we were soundly beaten we couldn’t cope as Lukaku destroyed us. We went on to only lose twice in the next ten games but we suddenly had issues putting the ball in the net we just couldn’t score as we drew 6 of the next ten games only scoring 11 goals with over half of them coming in two games a 2-0 win over Bournemouth and a 4-0 win away at Norwich we drew with teams we really should have beaten such as Brighton [1-1], Reading [1-1], Southampton [0-0], and struggle to a draw in our first tyne wear derby of the season. Into the second half of the season we continued our average to woeful form as back to back away defeats to Chelsea and Tottenham before draws with Burnley [1-1] and Everton [0-0] saw us slide into the bottom half of the table thankfully we finally picked up our first win in 10 as we managed to beat stoke thanks to goals from Brooks and Arp. unfortunately as it looked like we were turning it around we travelled to Arsenal who smashed us 4-1 thankfully Brooks got on the score sheet before back to back wins at home to Leicester and Ipswich got us back into contention for the Europa League spot another defeat to Manchester United before a four game upbeat run as we beat Brighton before Brooks bagged the winner in the Tyne Wear derby an encouraging draw with Liverpool as Piroe cancelled out an earlier strike before our form took a nose dive losing 4 of the last five games as we managed to struggle our way to a 9th place finish losing games we should have won as we dominated West Ham but somehow lost. We move onto next season im on the lookout for new wing backs, a new Tall strong beast of a CB
Our Domestic cup runs didn’t last too long after the success of last years run, we took on Blackburn rovers in the 3nd round but as i was concentrating on Europe our reserves bombed losing 3-1 at ewood park with only Watmore getting on the score sheet.
The FA Cup run faired only marginally better before ending in embarrassment we absolutely destroyed Chelsea at the stadium of light the game went so well I was surprised myself we came out with such a big win as Piroe netted twice and goals from Lo Celso and Arp saw us win 4-0, The 4th round saw Birmingham park the bus and we struggled to break them down with Arp scoring in the second half to set up a mouth-watering tie with the old enemy a Tyne Wear Derby was coming to the FA Cup! both sides fielded strong teams and we started the better team taking the lead when Salcedo headed home, but in the second half the mags got more and more into the game eventually equalising from corner as we failed to clear it before Gayle bagged a winner we just couldn’t get the equalizer and Newcastle put us out of the cup.
Our first Foray into Europe ended up as a surprisingly good performance we played Grasshoppers in the third qualifying round and absolutely took them apart scoring five times before they pulled a goal back and all but booked our place in the fourth qualifying round which was confirmed when Watmore, Asoro and Oviedo sealed a 8-1 aggregate win. we got a more favourable draw in the next round as we took on Icelandic FH a trip to a cold Iceland only warranted a 1-0 win as Gooch sealed the winner in front of just over 6k fans, before a single Watmore strike sealed a group stage appearance, and we got a solid group it could have been a lot worse but we still had the tricky taste of playing AC Milan.
We started well at the san siro looking to score on a few occasions before the Rossoneri took the lead, we got back into the game with a goal from Arp and could have won it at the end but failed to take advantage. a goalless draw at home to Basakehir of turkey was a big disappointment they even had the better of the game and could have won it but we held on, before easing past Legia at home Brooks, Asoro and Watmore the goalscorers with Gooch notching in the away game where we again struggled to deal with a corner i really should sort that out!
Our best performance was the visit of AC Milan as we demolished them in front of a packed Stadium of light Arp, Brooks, Watmore and Chalobah all scored in the first half to put the game to bed and seal progression to the Knockout round even defeat to Basakehir didn’t make a difference as we moved onto the KO rounds.
we got a solid draw as we took on Besiktas and we did well in the first leg at home winning 3-1 as goals from Fohrenbach and Piroe were helped on by an Own goal the Turkish giants couldn’t get back into the game at their ground and we progressed to play Dinamo in the second Knock out round, again a solid home performance got us through as goals from Salcedo and Pineda were enough for progression to the Quarter finals we got the best opponents from the draw as we took on Czech side Slavia Praha but they didn’t see it that way as the beat us 2-1 in Prague so we had to rely on a come back in the 2nd leg as we even went a goal down in the first half leaving us 3-1 down on aggregate and looking out, but in the 84th minute Arp tucked the ball home for what I thought was a consolation, Lo Celso then stepped up with a 90th minute free kick rifling the ball home again still thought we were out with only 4mins stoppage time expected and it was a penalty in the 94th minute that got us into the last four a remarkable come back!
The last four see us take on Dortmund and I could tell from the first leg that we would be heading out they were just too good for us creating chance after chance even though Brooks scored we still looked like we would need a miracle to get back into it and despite defending well we couldn’t do it a goalless draw at home saw us fall in the semis it was a good effort for our first attempt at Europe and I hope it’s not too long before we return.
Around the leagues:
– As you can see from further up Chelsea picked up the title piping united with Newcastle dropping out of the premier league so no more Tyne Wear derbies 🙁 for at least a year.
– In Spain Ronaldo at 35 years old bagged 26 goals as he led Real Madrid to the La Liga title by 15 points over Barcelona they finished with 100 points which is an achievement in itself
– Juventus picked up their 36th Serie A title as they finished a whopping 18 points clear of Naopli, the italian giants are just becoming more and more dominant.
– Bayern again won the title, again Leipzig came second and again Dortmund were third. Dortmund finished 20 points off the title with Bayern having a 17 point gap over Leipzig, at the other end Werder Bremen were relegated.
– After the close fight in Ligue 1 the past few seasons it was Monaco’s turn to win the title and they won it by a massive margin 11 points clear of PSG. at the other end of the table it was Auxerre who went down.
– In the European cups Bayern looked to defend their champions league title but were unable to as Atletico Madrid forced Extra time before triumphing on spot kicks in the Europa league Dortmund fresh from eliminating Sunderland in the semis went on to beat Tottenham 2-0 in the final to lift the trophy.
– We’ve also got the Euros coming up and Norway and Scotland qualifying were a surprise we also had some call ups with Pickford & Sessegnon called up by England, Suttar called up by Scotland, Matthews by Wales and Ruiter was called up to the Dutch squad.
Aims for next season is improve the wing backs and turn some of the draws into wins