#7 Year 1 Final

      Well, the season’s finished. What a roller coaster ride. We started out struggling to get to the top, consistently holding top 3, then making top 1 in January. Somehow we managed to keep the top position, despite have a horrible end to the season. Here is a look at the table.

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     A couple shockers here. Swansea was relegated, which was never expected. Also, Southampton placed second. Just let that sink in. Another surprise is Manchester Utd qualifying for the CL. Earlier in the season, they were sitting in 8th and 9th, and had a great run of games towards the end of the season. 

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     Looking at this, our home record was horrible. I don’t know what went wrong, either. I’m going to try using a more attacking style for home games. Overall, our defense was spectacular. Our offense, however, was not. I’m not quite sure how to improve our offense either. I don’t want to move anybody up, at the risk of ruining our defense. We have really good attacking midfielders, but they aren’t scoring. Let’s take a look at the match list.

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     This is almost embarrassing. The end of our season was horrible. The quarter-finals and semi-finals of the CL were decided by away goals, and the finals was won because of an own-goal. How boring. We were also barely able to hold onto the premier league title, despite many draws and losses.

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      Here is a quick snapshot of what we achieved over the season, as well as a sneak-peak to next season. That’s all I have time for tonight so make sure to comment and tweet, and I’ll have the next update soon!

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#6 Post January Update

      Life here at Chelsea has been great. In fact so great that I was just offered a new contract to stay until 2017. With my job secure it was time to move on to improving the squad. But first, a look at our situation.

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      We’ve accomplished our goal of reaching the top of the table for January, but we can’t put that all down to our own performances. We’ve gotten lucky with both Arsenal and Southampton dropping key points. We appear to be in a good position to take the title home, but I’m not complacent. The players, however, might be starting to be. We went on an incredible run of 20+ games unbeaten, but recently we’ve started dropping easy points. For example, we gave up 3 goals in the Capital One Cup Semi-Finals second leg to lose on a 3-2 aggregate. Manchester United was awaiting us in the finals, and we were so close to that second cup win. 

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      As you can see, we’ve recently dropped points to mid-and even low-table teams. There has also been somewhat of a goal drought for us recently. Neither Andre Schurrle nor Samuel Eto’o seem to be able to find the net recently. Fernando Torres sustained another 2-3 month injury, and we’ve sold Demba Ba on due to a decrease in performance.

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(Our preferred 11+7 recently)

     Our defense, however, has been amazing. We’ve allowed 14 goals in 23 games total in the Premier League. Ashley Cole, John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic, and David Luiz have all had great seasons, and we also had help from an unlikely source: Tomas Kalas. He has held his own and even won starts over Gary Cahill and Cesar Azpilicueta at points. With the way I select match day teams (which I will do a post on), he been given a fruitful amount of chances in the team.

      

 

      Let’s talk about transfers. Being the first open window for everyone, it was set to be very busy. It wasn’t. Surprisingly, Manchester United didn’t spend oodles of money on players like El Shaarawy. City did spend their usual gobs of money, but for the most part it was tame. We made big moves in South America, snatching up prospects right and left. We also had a couple players leave on loan. I tried selling Eto’o on a free, so that I could free up some wage cap, but was unsuccessful.

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      Essien left for 1 million, purely for wage space. He hadn’t played much and requested a transfer and I was happy to oblige.

      Demba Ba hadn’t played well since recovering from his injury. He hadn’t scored a single goal for us and wasn’t keen on the play-making side either. Luckily, Southampton were looking to keep their hopes of Champions League qualification open and I was able to sell him on for 8 and a quarter million. Taking wages into account, Chelsea won’t break even with the sale. We still have to pay him 1 million per year for 2 years because of the pay cut he had to take. Still, I think it was the right decision to let him leave.

      With our new signings, it was best to send Tomas Kalas go out on loan. While he played well for us, our new signings really need to be playing in our first team. We won’t need to buy any new defenders for years to come. I might do a post analyzing the outlook of every general position on our team to explain my strategy.

Our Signings

 

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     When I search for prospects, there are only 2 filters I use. Determination is at least 16, and age is at most 19. This is a sure-fire way to get prospects that you know will develop well. I also listen to my scouts. If they show me a player with 4 1/2 star potential, I am immediately interested, but even then, I am selective.

      Doria and Balanta have both immediately been placed in the first team, and Balanta is knocking on Ivanovic’s door for the starting right back position. With Ivanovic out for 2-3 months (can’t we just get a small injury?) it looks like he will have his chance to cement himself in the team. Doria is playing more of a backup role, but he will also benefit from Ivanovic’s injury.

     As a final note, Lampard, Cole, and Terry have all signed new multi-year contracts. So far I regret giving Lampard the contract I did because he hasn’t been anything special, but I probably would of kept him regardless.

   

 

 

     That’s all for this update. What else would you like to see? How can I improve? Comment below, tweet @Jchxn and leave a like! Thanks for reading!

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#5 Random Mid-October Update

     It’s October and the season has gone pretty well, after a very bad start. Here’s a look at the table so far.

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      It’s really weird seeing Everton and Southampton in the top 2 spots, as well as seeing so many predicted title contenders so low on the table. I am happy with our current position, but I want to be at the top by January so we can hopefully attract some talent without having to panic buy.

     This is how the squad has looked so far, as well as my most common starting 11+7. We started out the season with Torres being injured for 2 months, Ba being injured for 6-8 weeks, and Eto’o being injured for 3-5 weeks. Fortunately Andre Schurrle really stepped up and gave us an amazing 6 goals in 8 games, despite striker not being his natural position. 

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      Every player is going to need to step it up for the rest of the season if we want to keep winning against the bigger teams. 

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      Our first game was an absolute embarrassment and disaster. We lined up with our 4-1-1-3-1 tactic, and got demolished from the very start. Immediately after that game, I deleted the whole tactic out of anger, and never looked back. Our 4-3-3 tactic has served us well; as you can see, we’ve had 3 shutouts in a row, including one against league leaders Everton.

 

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#4 Sorting Out Tactical Flaws

     This may seem paranoid, but after the first preseason game against Sporting, I was scared. Our team didn’t seem to have any control over the match. This can be attributed to a couple of things. The first is the team not having a grasp on the tactics, but it could also be flaws in our tactics.

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     The match was largely boring, with teams often exchanging possession and neither team had a profound advantage at any point, ending at 1-1. I lined up with the 4-1-1-3-1 formation while Sporting used a standard 4-3-3. The two goals of the game were left to the very end. We started to looking better towards the end, especially when I brought a mostly new defensive line, and Demba Ba at striker.

      For our goal, Ba received the ball relatively deep for a striker, around where you would expect a central attack midfielder to be. He caught the center backs flatfooted and made a run that split the two, leaving a one on one with the keeper. He made a clean strike, gliding past the keeper into the net. It was more of an individual effort, which is not how I am looking to play, but a goal is a goal.

      Sporting’s goal was pretty ridiculous. Labyad received the ball outside of the box, with absolutely no marking. He took a shot, and the aging Schwarzer was unable to get a hand on the ball. With proper marking the goal would have never happened.

      Let’s look at the analysis page to see what went wrong in the 1-1 draw.

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     David Luiz. Look at all of those missed passes. Less than 50% passing is NEVER acceptable. This might explain a good portion of why we had no control of the match. It also might explain why the team seemed to get a spark when I substituted the defense.

     The tackles provide more insight.

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     This is the tackles for the two players that played the defensive midfielder role. The point of the role is to protect the center backs, but they are obviously either not doing their job, or they don’t need to be there. If this happens again, I will probably make it more of a deeplying playmaker and move him up to partner with the box to box CM.

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     Ramires’s tackle sheet shows that he was biased towards the left wing in regards to defense. This is interesting when we look at Azpilicueta’s tackle sheet.

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     Azpilicueta’s tackled were fairly deep, and even had a few tackles in the center of the midfield. The tackles in central midfield came from stopping counter attacks, which isn’t exactly a bad thing. The deep tackles, however do concern me. Azpilicueta was either not closing down enough, or didn’t get offered any protection from the wingers and central midfield. 

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     This screenshot shows Mata tracked back fairly well (if only he did this for Chelsea IRL), but maybe we would prefer him to stay wider. We can fix that with player instruction.

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      When we look at Willian’s heatchart, it shows that he did not track back as much as I would like. Given that he didn’t play anywhere near as much time as Mata, this could be just a fluke, but it is something to look out for in the future games.

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     This team’s heatmap pleases me. It shows that the team takes a shape close to what I’m looking for in the team. Notice the triangle formed by the DM, CM, and AMC. That triangle is going to be what initiates counter attacks and retains a lot of the possession. Also notice the position of the opposition’s two center backs. This shows how intent they were on marking our striker. If I had noticed this in game, I could have taken advantage of it by pulling the striker deeper into space, forcing BOTH center backs to follow, which would have left acres of space for the wingers to cut inside, receive a ball, and look for space in front of themselves. If it was our tactic forcing the double marking, this is something we can take advantage of in the future.

     What I would like to see different is a less isolated striker. Maybe making him a Deeplying Forward would help, but that isn’t what Eto’o and Torres are good at, so Ba would likely have to fill in. I would also like to see the wingers closer to the sideline, so they give more options than just passing it around the central midfield, and can makes runs on balls played into space.

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The final screenshot of the post, I promise! 

      This final page shows our inability to cross. Looking the squad, our crossing stat is fairly low across the whole team. I need to figure out whether I need to buy a more prolific crosser of the ball in January or just try to cut crossing completely out of the game. 

 

      So that’s it. A longer tactical analysis for this post. The beginning of a save always takes longer to get everything situated and perfect, so don’t expect much progress to be made. I like doing the short player profiles, so expect to see more of those, and most likely some more tactical analysis on some preseason games.

      If you have any thoughts, feel free to leave a comment or send a tweet to @JChxn. Thanks for reading!

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#3 The Czech Liability

No, not Cech the Czech.

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Jokes aside, there is a really necessity for consideration of Tomas Kalas’ role in the team. As you can see, he is clearly not going to be a first choice for any position at any point, but we really need him for coverage at center back and right back, especially with Azpilicueta having to cover at left back. The question is: how much responsibility do we give him? It depends on injuries down the road, as well as his form, and feel free to provide any input of your own!

 

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Quick Tip

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     Just a really quick tip that I never noticed before, and maybe I’m Oblivious.

     If you look in the red box you can see which policies the board are willing to negotiate.

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#2 ATH-PILLY-KWETA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNA7XRvFDjU

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     Azpilicueta is going to be a very important part of our squad for at least the first half of the season. If you look at our roster, he is the only natural right back, and only one of two natural fullbacks. 

     Other options at right back include Branislav Ivanovic, Tomas Kalas, and worst case scenario is David Luiz. None of which are natural right backs. 

     Given this, we are going to have to use Azpilicueta as a utility player. He is going to have to play both fullback roles, with almost no backup. 

     However, if you look back at our tactic for the future, we will not be using fullbacks. Therefore, in the future Azpilicueta will need to move into more of a backup winger role, a backup central CM role, a backup CB role, or possibly need to be sold.

     Despite this, he will probably play the majority of games this season, in both the LB and RB roles, barring injury.

 

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#1 Tactical Plan

Note: The format of my updates are going to vary widely. I might do a quick post of a screenshot with just a small blurb, or a long extended post examining a full year or two. It just depends on how I’m feeling and what I’m thinking about.

      This Christmas I received Inverting the Pyramid as a gift, but I haven’t had the chance to read it yet, so I am not a tactical master yet, so don’t expect anything special. Here is what the two tactics I plan to use this season look like.

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And then this is the tactic I eventually want to be using, and might try a couple of times this year. Image

 

Let me know what you think of the tactics! It’ll be exciting to see how they work out!

 

 

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A New Beginning, Learning from Mistakes

     A while ago I started this blog, put too much work into it, and got bored. With a new stroke of inspiration I have decided to start anew. Not only that, but this provides a more productive and practical way to practice my writing, of which I am in dire need after taking practice SAT tests. My writing skills have been disappointing on them so far so hopefully this can help a bit! (Feel free to correct any grammar, or suggest improvements in general.)

     My first posts back will be about a short-term Chelsea F.C. save. I acknowledge that it is not the most difficult of clubs to manage, but in my opinion it is the best for me tos tart out with because I can focus on getting my bearings with the blog rather than stressing out over the game. I should mention that the updates for this will not be scheduled, and there may be long stretches with no posts. Schooling takes a lot of time, and it the best in order to keep me interested in this.

     As for my goals with the save, there are a few.

1. Learn the dynamics of Chelsea’s squad after the recent transfers of Kevin de Bruyne and Nemanja Matic.

2. Adapt the squad to fit new tactics, but keep the squad intact as much as possible.

3. Have a good season out of the gate without making any transfers. (First transfer window is disabled.)

4. Win the Premier League, FA Cup, Champions League, all within 3 years.

5. Incorporate outside feedback from twitter and comments.

Pretty simple, right? Well, let’s see if it happens!

     

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Chelsea FC: 12/13 January Update

Wow. This is has been one of my most exciting saves ever in FM. We’ve been through the good, the bad, the horrible, and the amazing. Almost every member of the team has played a huge role in our season. Not only this, but we’ve involved youth and reserve members that otherwise have not had first team experience. In this update, we will analyze performances of the team in general, as well as several specific individual’s performances. Overall, I think we have had a great season so far. Let’s start off with showing the league table.

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As you can see, we are accomplishing our objective of contending the title. From the way the beginning of the season started, I would not have expected this position so far. The table was pretty messed up a month or two ago. Manchester City found themselves in 7th at one point but have managed to turn it around. I don’t like having Tottenham above us, them being our rivals but I am confident we can knock them down a notch. It’s also weird to see Stoke so high in the table. I think it might be a fluke and they will end up much lower by the end of the season.

Next I’m going to show the fixture list for the Premier League only. We got off to a pretty rough start. I don’t know if there’s a worse way to start of a season than to lose 3-0 to Stoke. However, we have been able to put together a 15 game unbeaten run. This run has been amazing, but it’s really taken a toll on the team in terms of fitness. The team was clawing itself into January battered and beaten down to nothing. Players, particularly midfielders were starting with less than 85% fitness, some in the 70%’s. That’s ridiculous. To compensate of course I have lowered the intensity of training. I hope this doesn’t effect performances going forward.

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One reason for the poor fitness is the amount of injuries. Our midfield has suffered heavily from injuries. At the point I stopped to write this, both Oscar and Hazard are injured. It may seem like not a big deal but selling Florent Malouda and Yossi Benayoun means that we are left with Hazard, Oscar, Mata, Moses, Marin for 3 attacking midfield/winger positions. To be honest, I regret selling Yossi, but what’s done is done. For some extra help, I called up Milan Lalkovic from the reserve team. He has performed marvelously for the role that I have asked him to fill. He has proven he has what it takes to play in the first team so I reckon he has earned a permanent spot. Also, despite only having two strikers, I have occasionally played Demba Ba on the left wing. The mixture of Torres and Ba together worked really well for the few games I played like that. However we only have two strikers right now unless we want to call up a U18 striker. The only one I would even consider calling up is Islam Feruz, but I don’t think he will be any benefit right now.

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Milan has had better performances with the first team than with the reserves, but you wouldn’t think that looking at his attributes!

There was a point earlier in the season where John Obi Mikel, Ramires, and Frank Lampard were all injured at the same time for a week or two. Having your 3 best central midfielders out is really rough. Thankfully, I was able to rotate Eden Hazard, and Oscar, and Oriol Romeu into the position. I have decided that with the depth we have at defense, we can spare David Luiz to move up further and learn the central midfield role. I really can’t wait for Kevin De Bruyne to come back from loan. Unfortunately I am not able to recall him from loan. I did, however, recall Josh McEachran from loan because of our lack of depth at midfield. I also made a transfer that will help in this area, but we will talk about that later on.

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Josh McEachran should be one of our leading stars for our midfield in the future. Maybe a replacement for Frank Lampard? Anyway, we will give him his first taste of first team action at a high level club for the rest of the season. If we are lucky, he will perform well and become a regular next season. He has great stats for being 19, but as we saw with Milan Lalkovic, stats aren’t everything.

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Oriol Romeu has also exceeded expectations this season. I wasn’t expecting consistency from him, but he has proven me wrong. I am happy with his pass completion and tackle count. If he can keep up this sort of consistency and improve his game, I’m sure we can increase his role in the team.

Now let’s move onto our performance into competitions other than the Premier League. You will remember from earlier posts that we won the MLS All-Star Cup, as well as the Community Shield. This success has continued into the season with our performance in the Club World Championship and the Champions League. Due to fixture congestion, I decided to not put any effort into continuing in the Capital One Cup. We drew Sunderland in our entry round and I decided to field a team made up completely of U18’s. To my surprise, they almost advanced us, but Sunderland scored a goal late in the game to make it 3-2. Anyway, here is the fixture list for these competitions.

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I was disappointed at our result in the Euro Super Cup. I feel like with a competition that is only one game, there was no reason why we couldn’t go all out to try to win it. Despite that, it’s not the biggest deal in the world. In the CL, we got out of our group in second place, one point behind Juventus. Our loss against Montpellier can be blamed for that. I think the reason for that loss was pure complacency.

Since the last time I updated, we have made changes to the tactics. We have two tactics that we rotate based on our current injuries. I also have a tactic on the side that has no striker positions. Just in case everything falls into the dumpster. Here are our two main tactics.

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Again, I want to emphasize that there are a lot of individual instructions that go into making these tactics work. I have not tried them without the individual instructions.

Now I want to talk more about player’s performances.

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Fernando Torres… Fernando Torres… Fernando F***ing Torres. It has been quite the season for him. He has been nothing but inconsistent. You may look at his goals to game ratio and think it looks fine, but one of those was a hat trick. He tends to score goals when I don’t really need him to, and fails to provide anything when it really counts. That’s whats so frustrating. The bottom line is that he is not worth the money he is being payed. I’m going to try to lower his wage, and maybe offload him at the end of the season. Demba Ba has been more consistent, but his shot on target rating has been horrible, hovering just lower than 50%. I’ve tried everything I can to improve that but nothing has worked. For January, I am looking to either loan a player or sign an older player on a short term contract.

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Petr Cech has been amazing for us this season. Twelve clean sheets is impressive, and I hope this form keeps up.

I’m going to show some disappointing report from one of our future stars on loan 😦

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A broken foot. Such a shame for such a promising player. I hope that this doesn’t effect his development too much.

Ok on to the transfers. We have made several transfers, some I regret more than others.

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Ok so the one I regret here is Jores Okore. I really over paid for him, if I decide to keep him. A lot of that transfer fee is clause that says we will complete the 19 million after 30 appearances. Maybe we can turn him over for a profit in the summer. I may just take the blow. The reason why I payed so much is because I procrastinated until the transfer deadline day and really wanted him.

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He definitely has the skill to play in our first team, and has been handy in filling in roles, but I don’t think he’s worth that kinda money. We will learn from our mistakes.

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I feel very comfortable with this transfer. Like the one for Okore, this involves a certain amount payed up front, and the rest be payed after 30 appearances. We really needed this transfer to help with midfield depth. I think this, along with recalling Josh McEachran should provide enough cover. Not only this, but if we don’t need him this summer, I think we can make a profit.

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This transfer is the only one I see being a long term player for our club. This guy has better attributes than Milan Lalkovic, who has performed pretty well this season, and he is ONLY 18! I have hope that this youngster can develop into a key player, and I plan to train him into as many midfield positions as possible and maybe even a striker position. I have really high hopes for him. He was worth every cent.

Here is a quick look at what the rest of the league has done in terms of transfers.

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With it being mid season, we have been reminded that contracts are expiring at the end of the season. I have already negotiated contracts with people that I already know I will keep, but there are several that I have yet to tie up. This is where I’m looking for your help. I am going to paste in the player profiles of the players in question. Please comment your opinions on who to keep, and who to let go. Thanks for reading!

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