Just entered February and we currently sit Top of the league, a chasm of a 13 point gap separates us from second placed Villa, the league table scripting has been kind to me, I have drawn a couple of games and lost one, the teams all around me also drew and lost, keeping my hefty advantage in tact, had they won their games, the lead could have been reduced to a more manageable 7 points, but it didn’t, and I am still on course for the EFL Championship league title.
I was however dumped out of the FA Cup in the fifth round by League One Oldham, I nonchalantly played my fringe squad for that game, accessible easily from the team sheets option within the game, you can have multiple team sheets setup and flick between them with the RS before starting a game, I have one setup with my starting XI as default, one for fringe players, mainly subs who don’t always start or get a game, and a third team sheet for youth players, to blood them.
Despite Oldham’s lower status, they were up for it, harrying and harassing me all over the pitch with frenetic pace, you could instantly tell the difference in quality of squads as their passing was often astray, first touches poor and relied on long balls and fouls, but somehow they ran out 2-0 winners, after going ahead from a headed corner, then hitting me on the counter for the second late in the second half, from then on they played a 5-4-1 defensible formation and just clung to the lead.
Frank Angolo Zambo Aguissa (what a name) has cemented his place and the vice captaincy, at the heart of my midfield, he is my Dodo, my Gerrard, my Kanté, a solid DMF who breaks play up, his performances have been solid and earned him the Player of the Month award for December.
However, when it comes to shooting, as all legendary DMF’s should be able to possess a slamming shot, this is usually the result:
One match in particular, against an in-form and high-flying Bristol City, came just 3 days after the FA Cup defeat to Oldham, and my thread-bare squad were struggling with fitness, the 2 games in quick succession really took its toll with half of my squad starting with 60% or less stamina, and it really showed, our passing was off, inaccurate, first touches poor, and Bristol City played around us With ease, finishing with 62% possession.
I tried purely to get a draw from that game, as anything else would have been very difficult with the shattered squad, City went 1-0 up late in the first half then after sliding a nice pass between defenders into the box for my CMF to run on to, this happened:
Great save from the keeper. I rode my luck at times then in the last-minute of the first half, I managed to bag an equalizer with this fine effort from League top scorer, Jurgen Damm:
Here is my full squad, very thread bare, and this was after signing a handful of youth team players just to give cover, I’m going to have to sign some quality to have in reserve for the Premier League, if we suffer injuries we will be left very short.
Talking of injuries, my captain, CNB Vranjes, went down under a challenge against Watford and has to be stretchered off:
The final day of the January transfer window saw me scouring about for out of contract players, and free agents, nothing of. note was found, but I did scout and then shortlist a quality looking winger, all ready to pounce at the end of the season, only for Lazio to come in last-minute and snatch him from under our noses
I should have the season (3) wrapped up by end of next week, hopefully as Champions, my key priorities for pre-season will be to flesh the squad out in key positions with players good enough to do a job, but that won’t moan too much if they don’t play week in, week out.
FIFA 19 continues to amaze me with its detail, realism and pure enjoyment of matches, the crowd atmosphere, commentary and general all round presentation, a solid 9.5/10 for me so far.
Lastly a couple of nice-ish team goals from various matches, nothing sensational scored recently, The defence and midfield is too well-drilled and keeps its shape too well to pick the ball up in midfield and waltz 40 yards unchallenged and unleash a 35 yard generic arced finesse curler past a flapping keeper 😉