Emmanuel Dennis continues to fire in the goals, 18 goals in the Premier league so far and its only January. Braces in his last 2 games earned him the Player of the month award.
Not only is his goalscoring prowess a key part of the team’s success this season, but he’s also the league’s top assist creator with 11 assists to his name, if he gets injured, it will be a struggle to replace him.
Carrying on from Dennis’s bicycle kick goal from last week, he added another acrobatic finish to his collection in a great match against Chelsea which finished 1-1.
I have started to integrate several youth promoted players into the first team fold, after developing them top to the mid 70’s OVR they provide great cover for key positions, without moaning too much about not being played regularly, and of course they cost a lot less in wages.
Price (CF), Shaw (CM) and Gavilan (RM) are all first team quality players who perform well when I field them, but I still needed some cover in a few positions so managed to scout a LMF, CDM & CAM who only had 6 months left on their contracts, therefore I was able to sign them on pre-contract deals to join in the summer without paying a transfer fee.
I also signed another keeper after realising I didn’t have a sub GK, after Hart left at the end of last season, Abad signed from Houston Dynamos in the MLS and is rated 77, so a decent backup.
Club captain Decouré missed a few games with injury and we really missed his solid midfield physicality, then broke a toe on his second game back so is out for another 2 months. Foden also missed 3 matches with a sprained ankle, backups and cover is essential.
I played the semi-final of the Carabao Cup, against Man Utd, I was quietly hoping to get to the final of this tournament and possibly win it, but the game vs Man Utd came in December, and Dec-Jan is when the game engages its ‘Christmas Period Shenanigans’ whereby every team is extremely hard to play against, defend aggressively, and your own players seem suddenly unable to pass accurately in the final third, this has happened in the last 2 seasons, around the exact same time for it to definitely be ‘a thing’.
I’m not sure if its EA’s attempt at simulating the difficult festive period of the season, or what, but it’s so noticeable and very hard to come through without dropping points and going out of cups.
Man Utd dicked me 4-1 at home, every attack of ours was saved, passages of play suddenly broke down with a simple but poor pass, and everything Utd did came off, every shot went in, every bobble fell their way.
I then needed a 4-0 win at Old Trafford to win, or a 4-1 to take the tie to extra time, I went all out attack from the off in the 2nd leg and dominated play, we raced into a 2-0 lead quite early on, with youth promotee Shaw, grabbing a well finished second,
However Utd pulled one back through Lukaku, and that’s how it finished, a 2-1 win but out of the cup in the semi-final 5-3 on aggregate.
We are also in the last 16 of the FA Cup, where we played Man City, who are top of the league and an extremely difficult team to play, the tie finished 2-2 with City grabbing a late equalizer, so goes to a replay, we then played them the following week in the league and drew 1-1 with City again equalising late on, we just can’t seem to hold them off. they’re such a strong team.
Heres a nice finish from Dennis in the cup tie.
12 games left and we sit just outside the UCL places, European qualification, either Champions League or Europa League would be considered a satisfactory season, if we can get past City in the FA Cup, then we could also add another good cup run to that, I’d be pleased, and I think so would the board, trust level currently sits at 84.
Key focus for next season has to be to keep the goals conceded down, we are the top scorers in the division but also concede more than all the top 8, if we can sort the defence out then next season could and should be a title tilt.