Damm He’s Good

FIFA 19 Career (In Menus)_10.pngThat’s my RMF Jurgen Damm, signed pre-season, collecting his Player of the Month award for October, he uses ‘Jurgen’ on his shirt, and is fast becoming my go-to player in FIFA 19.
One of those players that oozes individuality, he has pace to burn and a canny eye for a finish, he reminds me very much in his playing style as a taller Mo Salah, not a bad thing at all, Damm his also the league top scorer so far with 11 goals in 15 matches.
His goals  and general wing play have contributed heavily to our good start to the season, a third of the way through the season, the table is shaping up, I have an idea who my title contenders are and which teams will pose difficult matches, although there is rarely an easy game.

I decided to rest 6 first team players for a match against Sheffield Wednesday, when are mid-table, and almost regretted it after trailing 1-0 for a large portion of the game, after re-introducing several key players around the 70th min mark, we started to get a grip on the game, Wednesday were playing very tight, packing midfield and giving us no real room to pass around, but a counter attack and break down the left-wing in the 84th min saw LMF Guerrero smash home in the top corner for a well deserved 1-1 draw which kept us topping the table.

table.pngBelow is my current starting XI, playing in a 4-2-2-2 formation, the two DMF’s give me some central stability and protect the defence, with Tachtsidis anchoring back and keeping a defensive position, whilst Doukouré has more freedom to join the attack, and actually has a decent shot on him, which I am also focusing on in his training schedules, he’s chipped in with a few goals already this season.
Team Selection.png

Subs (not shown) include:
Albrighton LMF (74)
Soudani CF (76)
Cools RMF (76)
Aguissa DMF (77)
Guerrero LMF (69)
Figueiredo CB (75)

I will be looking to sign a backup right back come January, but I’m pretty happy with everything I have in the other positions, I plan to give some game time to some promising youths too at some point, maybe in cup games, which will also help satisfy the board objective of developing youths and having one youth player play ink at least 70% of matches over 2 seasons.

top scoring teams.png

Lastly is short video showing a few goals scored this season, some nice counter attacks and good finishes, first clip in the video shows a. nice goal scored against me by the COM, with the CF pulling off some stopovers to wrong foot my defender then planting a daisy cutter into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.

There won’t be a post Thursday this week as I am away from Thursday morning all weekend, so won’t be about to post, but normal service will resume again next Monday.

The King is Back

FIFA 19 Career Match 0-4 MID V NFO, 2nd Half.pngSeason three has started well, off the back of last seasons relegation the boys had a point to prove, the board and fans expect immediate promotion, we can’t let them down.
The first few matches were tough, but after tweaking any formation to now play a 4-2-2-2, with two DMF’s, 2 wide midfielders and 2 up top, our play has started to balance out, we have more cover in the centre of the field, and with the instructions for one of the DMF’s to always hang back and take up a defensive role, we aren’t getting caught quite so much, although the essential quality of a good DMF has always been to be able to pop off shots from range, and neither of my two DMF’s can shoot for shit, Decouré is the better of the two, chipping in with the odd goal but nothing from ‘PES DMF’ territory.

Also, watching a few FIFA 19 tips n tricks videos on YouTube has made a big difference.
It was nothing I didn’t already know, or knew that I should be doing, but in the hustle and bustle of a live match you often just forget the discipline and go into button mash mode, proper use of jockeying and contain when  defending and laying off the damn sprint button has made a huge difference, and my play has improved.

Muto, a CF signing from Newcastle, hasn’t really done much since joining, he got a hat-trick on his debut in the pre-season tournament but since then, only a single league goal.
Josh King, a signing last January from Bournemouth, is now starting to settle in to his role as the main striker, bagging a couple of braces and being pivotal in most matches, along with another January signing, Jurgen Damm, from Middlesborough, who is also now starting to shine out on the right-wing.

FIFA 19 Career (In Menus)_7.pngTop of the league after 7 matches, but still a long way to go, I will be disappointed if we are not in the title race come April time, I have invested around 48 million into the squad, in order to gain promotion back to the big time, we cannot afford not to go up this season.

Pantimillion in goal, has been really good but he’s only rated 71, I needed another keeper, and managed to bag this stalwart on the last day of the transfer window, aged 33 but an experienced keeper and 76 rated, he will do nicely, has already made a great legs save from close range on his debut in a good 3-2 win over relegated Watford.

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I also adopted the Operation Sports (forum) sliders for FIFA 19 at the start of this season.
After trialling them in a friendly I was so impressed with much more balanced the game play was, and realistic, that I kept them, in short they only change a few stats, mainly the run frequency, pass speed, and first touch error, for both Player and COM, this keeps it balanced but introduces more randomness into proceedings as the ball bobbles about more and there are more midfield battles.

I shall not be tweaking anything, it’s the OS sliders, or vanilla, no messing about wasting time.

Lastly, I leave a short compilation of goals scored so far this season, nothing stand-out, a few nice team goals but some of them were at critical points of the match, and a result of tweaked tactics, play style, so meant more in-the-moment.

The Final Day

The above video shows a few goals scored in the last 4 or 5 games of season 2, including a nice 2-0 away victory against an under par Liverpool side at Anfield, unfortunately I only won one, drew two, and lost 2 of those final games, leaving me in a very precarious position at the foot of the table.

Here is the league table going into the final day of the season:

League table 1 game left.pngAs you can see, I’m 18th, only a win in the last game against Chelsea, and a defeat for Crystal Palace at home to Stoke, would see me survive, it’s out of our hands, World Class has been a cruel mistress, it’s very hard, especially against the top sides.
I’ve conceded far too many goals, and as a result far a far inferior goal difference, so not even a draw for Palace would let me off, they had to lose, we had to win, against Chelsea, who were top of the league, it wasn’t likely, or was it?

So there we have it, we got battered 4-0, as expected, another haul of goals shipped, another defeat, it summed up our season really, too inconsistent, and not good enough players or depth to be able to cope in the Premier League on World Class level, so down we went, here’s there final league table.

final table.png

Second bottom. Down and out. Didn’t deserve much more to be honest.
Now I had to wait to see if I still had a job, as the board objective, the sole objective was to avoid relegation, and I didn’t even manage that.
There was no massaging of the table or fixtures to ease up on me and give me a glimmer of hope, no fixtures going my way, it was just pure realistic hardship all the way, Palace drew in the last game so even if I’d have beaten Chelsea 10-0 I still would have been relegated.

In an attempt to pre-empt the sack, I applied for the vacant managers position at Stoke, who remained in the Premier league, this was their response:

stoke manager.png

They didn’t want me, can’t blame them.
SO down to the Championship I went, and plundered through my pre-season dealings before finding out if I’d kept my job our not.
Parachute payments from the Premier league gave me a decent transfer kitty in the Championship, around £45 million, I signed Muto at CF from Newcastle for £15mil, Damm, a pacy gherkin RMF for £12mil and Denswill, a strong CB for £9.3mil.
I also let Bojan go, and chose not to renew loans for a few other players.

Then the review meeting from the board came in:
board message.png

I kept my job, just.
So at the time of writing, I will be taking Forest through another EFL Championship season, my board objective is to win the league, nothing less.
Have a few new signings, and a few mil left in the kitty, so onwards and upwards.

Out but not quite down

Team.png

That’s my usual first team selection above, with an average player rating of 75, it’s not a bad side, but life in the Premier League on World Class level, is frustratingly hard.
I have the worst defence in the league, and the weakest goal scoring ratio in the league, it’s no wonder we are languishing near the bottom of the table.

Josh King, an emergency CF signing from Bournemouth on the final day of the transfer window, has struggled to settle in so far, not living up to his 79 rating, and being pretty anonymous in most matches.
I only signed him because I had a cheeky £16 million offer from PSG for my star striker, Emmanuel Dennis, I did not want to sell, so thought I’d be cheeky back and counter with an ask for £28.5 million, to my surprise, and dismay, PSG accepted, and before I knew what I’d done, Dennis was gone, at least I had a chunk of cash to find another forward.

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Second from bottom, just, 2 wins could take me out of the relegation zone, so whilst it looks ominous, survival is definitely doable, it’s just going to be difficult.
I need to hope that the remaining 7 fixtures are against weaker sides whom I may be able to take points from, I know for a fact though that I have to play Man Utd at home and Liverpool at home, so plausibly 5 actual games to save my job.

Another new signing, Zambo-Anguila at DMF had all the stats I look for in a defensive midfielder, strength, agility, ball winning prowess, tackling, but again hasn’t overly impressed with anything he has done so far, usurped regular in that position, Tachtsidis, isn’t happy and demanded showdown talks.

player moans.pngI’m going to have to put him back in the side for a few matches to appease him as I can’t afford a low morale, under-performing player of his quality.

I have about £13 million in transfer funds and around £400k in wage funds left over, the transfer kitty could be boosted to around £15 million by adjusting the wages available slightly, this will carry over to next season and form part of my transfer war chest, should I keep my job.

Have also lost my Captain, and CB, Gurreiro, for 3 matches due to a straight red card, as shown below, which I don’t think was a Red. He may have come in from behind but was a stretch-tackle, and actually played the ball, harsh decision, second clip in the below video is the same match, coming back from a goal down and a man down to equalise through RMF Dion Cools.

Towards the end of my session last night, Josh King finally broke his duck since signing and bagged a couple of goals, the first being a typical goal ;poachers finish, and the second with a scorching mid-ranger. More of that please.

I should finish the season over the weekend so Monday’s post will wrap up season 2 and my fate as Nott’m Forest boss.

Not So World Class

World Class level on FIFA 19 is hard.
World class level in the Premier league with a newly promoted side and hardly any World Class players is even harder.

We are currently 19th, approaching mid-January and time is running out to escape the relegation places, with little to no funds to aid new transfers, and a run of tough matches coming up, difficult times lie ahead.
I had a run of 4 or 5 matches where results picked up, 2 wins and 2 draws, I thought I had finally cracked the defending, including a well-earned point at Old Trafford after leading until the 88th min, and a good solid 3-1 win at Stoke, but have just lost my last 2 matches, 4-1 vs Chelsea and 4-0 vs Liverpool, before grabbing a 2-2 draw at Leicester, and that’s where FIFA 19 stands out.

The elite premier league teams are just that, the likes of Chelsea, City, Liverpool, Spurs, they just blow you away, slick fast passing, control, ruthless attacking and tight defence makes playing against these top teams extremely difficult with a weaker team, and you can really tell the difference between the teams and individual players, and their playing styles.
Chelsea put everything through Willian and Hazard, they ran the show, ran me ragged, I just couldn’t cope, and as I’ve remarked before about key players not playing true to life, or standing out in PES, they certainly do in FIFA.

The video below shows a couple of brief clips of Hazard causing chaos against me, doing what he does in real life, dribbling, running at players, snap shots from the edge of the box, dragging markers out of position, was a joy to see, if you can take joy from being battered.

My standout players so far have been Osborne at LMF, and to a lesser extent, Dennis at CMF, Bojan has been making a welcome return to form too but rarely lasts the full 90mins.

Osborne got Player of the Month For December

FIFA 19 Career (In Menus)_8.png

We also lost CF Jonathan David to a Long injury which restricts CF backup options to just Brereton.

FIFA 19 Career (In Menus)_9.png

My objective was to avoid relegation, and finish mid table in season two, I feel relegation surely would bring the sack, it’s going to take a late surge much like last years unbeaten promotion run to stay safe, but this time the ask is much bigger.

Finally, another nice headed goal, love the meat you can get behind these shots.

Baptism of Fire

FIFA 19 Career (In Menus)_2.pngThe league table doesn’t lie, we currently lie in 19th position, one-off bottom, having conceded the most goals in the division.
The Premier league is hard, the quality of the teams is a distinct step up from the championship, players are faster, stronger, more skillful, with the current squad we cannot cope.

I’ve had a few decent results, a 2-2 with Arsenal, a 0-0 with Southampton, but those five defeats have included 3-0,4-0, and a 6-1 drubbing away to Bournemouth.
I love playing at the Vitality stadium, the camera angle on broadcast is very low and close to the pitch, it looks superb, but you see less ‘open space’ so tight midfield play is harder, Bournemouth were superb and just overpowered me, it was 4-0 at half time.

I’m going to have to think about changing my 4-1-2-1-2 formation to a more defensive minded one, play for the draw and nick anything I can,  my squad just isn’t good enough to compete currently.
I did sign a few new players pre-season, Vranjes at CB, Cools on the right of midfield, and Brereton returned from loan to give us another attacking option, but with the exception of Tachstidis at DMF (76), Dennis at CVF (78) and Osborne on the left wing (76), most of my other players are low 70’s, subs are high 60’s/low 70’s and it shows.

FIFA 19 Career (In Menus).png

Still very happy with how FIFA is playing, each team feels so different, Bournemouth’s bullish tactics, Spurs quick pass and move play, Southampton’s Pack Midfield but few attacking options, you have to think and adjust each game, it adds more realism and immersion.

One bright spot of a so far miserable season came in last nights session, coming from behind to knock Coventry City out of the Carabao cup.

The Sport reported on our woes too:

Daily Sport Paper

Red Dead Redemption 2 has been purchased and downloaded, all 90GB of it, it unlocks and is playable from Midnight tonight, this is bound to affect my time with FIFA, but the blog shall carry own with the regular schedule regardless, there’s always something to report.

Will finish off with the goal highlights from the 2-2 draw with Arsenal.

 

All to play-off for

defrby forest title.png

This is it. The culmination of 46 hard, gruelling games, the reward for putting together a final 12 match unbeaten run to climb the table and secure 6th place, the final play-off spot.
After defeating West Brom in the first play-off match, we are now in the final against local rivals Derby County, who finished 3rd, all to play for, a multi-million pound promotion to the Premier League hangs in the balance, so does the sacking if we fail.

Here’s what happened (Full Match). Condensed Goal highlights are available after the full match footage for those who prefer not to watch the whole match.

Full Match Footage:
https://youtu.be/B4RQ2jWNX8w

Condensed Highlights:
https://youtu.be/ULE6eiRHMHU

So there we have it! Success! Play-off champions and promotion to the Premier league in our first season. I was still sweating over my end of season review with the board, wondering if promotion via the play-offs rather than automatically, as was my objective, would be enough.

eos review.png

They gave me another chance. That was big of them, last 8 of the FA Cup, installed a solid youth team, and promotion in my first season, bloody should be enough to keep my job, so into the Premier league we go.
I declined the invitation of a pre-season tournament as I wanted to focus on my transfer dealings and club business rather than having to play non-important matches, during this window I was informed that several players would be leaving as their loan period had finished.

Dias (RMF) 76 OVR, Janko (RB) 76 OVR & Brewster (CF) 62 OVR all returned to their parent clubs, Dias and Janko were both first team players and will leave a substantial gap in the side, so priority is to sign a new right midfielder, right back and also a centre back as I will need more solid defensive options in the Premier league.

I was presented with this nice message, good to see my hard work being recognised.

club value rises.pngI immediately checked the finances to see how promotion had affected my budgets and was satisfied with the money I was given:

budget.png£65 million transfer budget, which  have revised to around 45 million, freeing up more money for player salaries, which I can revise at any point should I need to.

I have set up my global scouting network to search for players, specifically the positions I mentioned above, but also identified I need another left back as my back-up had also returned to his club after only being on a loan.
One of the CB’s I scouted is a player called Vranjes from Anderlecht, 76 OVR but good solid defensive stats, I managed to sign him  for £5.4 million and on 28k per week.
He’ll add the good defensive abilities  needed to cope with Premier league players

cb signing.png

Finally I checked my objectives for the coming season set by the board, very realistic I thought and was relieved to not be tasked with winning the league or anything silly.

objectives.pngFinish mid table at best within two seasons, whilst avoiding relegation, that’s proper sensible expectations from the board right there, and am confident of achieving that, hopefully bettering it.
I’m also looking forward to playing in a fully licensed Premier league with official broadcast presentation elements and all 20 official stadiums too, but more looking forward to seeing how the differing play styles present themselves with better teams, and the 38 game season is much more convenient too.

My first season on FIFA 19 could not have been any. more enjoyable, the up and downs, the final push, the play off success, the immersion, the big match atmosphere, it’s all there, easily the best FIFA EA have pushed out to date.

Here’s to season 2 …….