Start as you mean to go on

SUAREZ MATCH DAY PROGRAMME.png

Firstly, apologies for the delayed post, a busy life schedule and time off work meant that I did not get chance to play much at all, thus gathering material for the post and making time to edit it all up had to take a back seat.

Life in season 4, back in the Premier League for the second time, has started ominously realistically.

After the summer signings of Suarez (CF), Torres (CM), Spinazzola (LM), Adama Traoré (RM) and Balbuena (CB) I had optimism going into the new season, picking up four wins and a defeat in the opening 5 matches, to take an early lead at the top of the Premier League.
Much like any newly promoted team who want to make an impact on the division and get as many points on the board as early as possible, we played solidly in those opening five matches, with a 1-0 win over Liverpool at home being the highlight, and a thumping 4-1 win away to Huddersfield showing that the newly acquired firepower was paying dividends.
Suarez has started as expected, his deadly finishing on show, and his movement really adds to our forward threat, Spinazzola has been surprisingly good also, a Left Mid who joined from Juventus, always seems to be in the right place.
Jurgen Damm has kept his place on the right-wing ahead of Adama Traoré but has so far only chipped in with a couple of goals and is finding it harder in the better division.

Then came a 5 week injury to CF Josh King, so as backup, on the closing day of the transfer window we managed to grab Tammy Abraham from Chelsea on a 5 year deal worth £18 million.

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The next 3 matches consisted of a draw, against a superb Chelsea side and a 2 defeats, to see us slip down to 8th in the table.
Chelsea were a cut above anyone we had played up until that point, with Hazard always a constant threat, they moved the ball well and played with pace, and the match against them was one of the most enjoyable for a long time.

Chelsea went 1-0 up mid-way through the first half, I needed a tactical change, so brought on Adama Traoré to use his pace down the right-wing, moments after he came on this happened ….

A driven pass seeking out Adama, who took a great first touch to race down the wing with pace and cut inside the Chelsea full back, who lunged in and brought him down for a Penalty, which Suarez duly converted, 1-1.
Chelsea then went 2-1 in the 67th minute, Hazard again, at which point we switched to a high pressing, attacking formation, and in the 88th minute, Adama once again staking a  claim for a starting place by dispossession the Chelsea full back just outside the box, and laying a nice pass inside the box to a waiting Suarez who drilled home inside the near post for a last gasp equalizer.

I probably should have altered the tactics and formation to maybe a 5-4-1, or 4-5-1 to stifle Chelsea and try to hit on the counter attack, but I wanted to see if we could hang with the big boys playing our usual style, and to come from behind twice to earn a draw against one of the leagues best teams was satisfying.

Next up was Spurs, who hammered us 4-0, we didn’t play very well at all but that’s more credit to Spurs, hands down the toughest team I’ve ever faced on a football game.
The pace and way they moved the ball, the constant pressure, and their deadly attacking trio of Kane, Son, and Delle Ali, was just impossible to play against.
We was lucky to get zero.

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So quite realistically, we have started well, and then started to fade away a bit, but I’m confident we can pick up enough points against the rest of the teams to remain in the division, which was the target from the outset, and what is expected from the board.
After all, we are 8th but still only 3 points off the top.

We also have some promising young players who I have promoted, trained and developed and are getting games in cup matches, and as subs in league games, more on these players next time.

A few goals from the opening matches, and finished off with a stormer of a goal from the CM against me.

FR SUAREZ INTRERVIEW

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.
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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.

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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.

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.

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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.

 

See The Forest Through the Tricky Trees

So we have Kick off!
My FIFA 2019 career is underway, with unanimous poll winner Nottingham Forest.
A club with a rich and storied history, previous league champions on two occasions, and former ~European cup Champions, now a fallen giant languishing in the EFL Championship, it will be my job to rebuild them and restore their place at the top of world footballs elite, no mean feat.

I have set up my career mode as shown below:

FIFA 19 Career Settings.pngI  will be playing on World Class difficulty, 5 main halves, and early signs are that the game plays very nicely indeed.

Upon starting I took a good 25 minutes to set up the team as I wanted, checking over player stats and traits and studying various formations.
This year, FIFA19 introduces ‘Dynamic Tactics’ which are a set of pre-defined formations and associated tactics and instructions that can be applied to the various attack/defence levels and applied on the fly in-game.
I have varying takes on a 5-4-1 set to the Ultra defensive and Defensive levels, with the former being an all out ‘defend in numbers’ and ultra aggressive style, and the latter easing up a little, still defending tight but allowing the counter attack too.
Then I have my ‘regular’ balanced formation of 4-4-2 diamond (or 4-1-2-1-2) for general play, and two varying styles of 4-3-3 for attacking and ultra attacking.

This allows you to dynamically change your team shape and style of play instantly in-game with no need to access menus, it’s a great addition and you can really see the changes take effect and shape the game.

FIFA 19 Career Notts Forest Setup.png

My objectives for the season, set by the board as shown above are to win automatic promotion, so a top two finish, and sign a top class player in an attacking position, and also promote a youth player to each of the defensive, midfield and attacking positions.
I started with an £18 million transfer budget, and immediately identified the need for a creative attacking midfielder, after setting up global scouting networks and searching the free agents, I settled on the idea of poaching fellow championship side Stoke’s CAM, Bojan.

Negotiation went back and forth and finally I managed to land Bojan in a £5.2 million deal, I had to guarantee him first team football in order to seal the deal.

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I also love the training options in FIFA, whereby you can assign 5 training schedules per week, and assign whichever player you want to various training drills, then save them as presets, so I went through and setup various schedules for Defending/Midfield/Attacking based around dribbling, tackling,  shooting and passing, and simulate all the drills so that I don’t have to play them myself, a good way to develop players skills and increase their overall rating, and worth.

So on to the games, at the time of writing I’d played 6 league matches, losing the first 3, with Bojan largely being ineffective, but a slight tweak of tactics and team shape , as well as dusting off the old PES muscle memory, has seen me since pick up 3 wins on the bounce and a draw, and am currently sitting 10th.
Bojan has scored 3 in his last 4 matches, and a final day of the transfer window also saw me bring in Adekanye, a RMF, from Liverpool for £2million, and I also took Rhiann Brewster from Liverpool on a season long loan.

The video below firstly shows the single goal I lost by in my opening game, and the one and only chance I had all match in a game where I really struggled to create anything.

Lastly this second video shows a couple of nicely taken goals, the first a finesse placed shot from the edge of their box, and then a dink cross into the box for a close range acrobatic finish.