Bold New Beginnings

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Season 4 is underway, with a return to the Premier League. Firstly, EA have released update 1.05 for FIFA 19, there has been mixed views on the forums and even regular commenter Darryl has expressed concerns over it, my initial reaction is that I love it.
You can view the superbly detailed patch notes here: EA Pitch Notes, but in general, EA have adjusted how players react when blocking shots, defending, and increased the unpredictability of 50/50 confrontations, and also increased the fatigue suffered by players when playing a constant pressing game, in my opinion its a great update.

Admittedly the speed of the game has increased a tad but for me, not in a bad way, the game still has a considered pace, and fluctuates during the match depending on the situation, but it is definitely faster.
It is also worth noting that I am using the Operation Sports Slider set 5, which adjusts a few values to balance the game out, and for me, FIFA 19 is playing the best it ever has with these settings.

Now, on to the important stuff, season 4.
It started with a pre-season tournament held in Mexico, The Champions Invitational Cup, I was up against Benfica from Portugal, Monterrey from Mexico, and Athletic Bilbao from Spain, I lost a close game vs Bilbao 2-1, with new signing Spinazzola grabbing a debut goal, followed up by a thumping 4-0 win over Monterrey, with Suarez opening the scoring for his debut goal, and then another narrow 1-0 defeat against Benfica.

The short video clip below shows the goals, preceded by a great bit of crowd detail, these things, little touches, attention to match day atmosphere really make games ‘pop’ in FIFA 19 and add to the experience greatly.

A bit of pre-season squad business to sort out, I had been scouting for a good rated, promising young RB to provide cover for first choice Carrascá, and found him in Spurs 24yr old 74 rated Kyle Walker-Peters, who had a £2.8 million release clause, which I activated, and duly signed to a 5 year deal, then I was notified of my first choice LB Gurreiro being head hunted:

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Liverpool wanted him, and were prepared to activate his £30 million release clause, I really like that the game informed me and gave me the opportunity to then offer my player a new lucrative contract in order to persuade him to stay:

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I offered him a new contract and upped his wages to £58k a week, an increase of £10k, plus a £1.2million signing on fee, which Gurreiro accepted, he’s staying! Money well spent.

Next up was the opening day of the Premier League, away to Southampton, who dicked me 3-0, the scoreline flattered them, it was a very tight, close game, with the Saints leading 1-0 most of the match, they then got 2 late goals on the counter, a disappointing start, there’s always that hope and air of expectation when starting a new season, especially following a promotion season, but the class gap was evident.
That was followed up a home tie against Burnley, these are the types of games I am looking to take points from, and duly did so with a well oiled 2-0 win, goals from Muto and Spinazzola again grabbing us the points, Muto was only in due to a broken metatarsal in training leading to a 5 week lay-off for CF Josh King.

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Below is a short video showing Joe Hart performing heroics in-goal for me, he’s been a revelation between the sticks since singing last summer, and has kept us in games on many occasions

Finally here’s a video showing the 2 goals from the win against Burnley.
Mondays post will feature an Interview with Trees new star signing Luis Suarez, in the match day programme.

Leeds to the Slaughter

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Approaching the middle of March and league form has been awful, a few draws and mostly defeats have seen us slip down to 20th in the table, perilously close to the relegation zone, but the signing of Emmanuel Dennis at CF and Jonathan David who can play on the wing or as a Striker, have given us a  bit more potency in front of goal, w are going to need their goals if we want to stay up this season.

Leeds Utd were the side that were defeated in order to put and end to our poor run of draws and defeats, always nice to get one over on Leeds, even a virtual Leeds side.
A double-header awaited as we played Leeds firstly in the league, then again straight away this time in the FA Cup, securing back to back wins lifted the lads and gave us fresh belief heading into February.

Highlights are shown below.

A defeat away to Bristol City and a draw at home to Norwich wasn’t the best form heading into our visit from Premier League side Crystal Palace in the FA Cup 4th  round, Extra training sessions were put on in order to get the boys focused and match-sharp, I also fit in time to do an interview for the local rag.

Notts Reporter Newspaper page.pngPalace were duly despatched 2-0 in a game that we had to fight hard to earn anything from, they were strong and organised but had a bad day in front of goal, Roy cut a frustrated figure on the sidelines and booted a few of the water bottles at the final whistle.

We are turning into a cup team, and need to transfer some of the focus and discipline we show in those matches across to our league form, our position isn’t acceptable and the fans demand more, rightly so, as do the board, me and the players.|

FA Cup highlights vs Palace shown below

As I said in my interview, we are trying to. build a solid base and platform from which we can push on next year to mount a serious title challenge, I think the fans know that this year is about setting a template, getting in the players we need and taking consistent, steady steps towards next season, they have been brilliant so far this year, always giving the lads their support on the pitch.

Tuesday saw EA release their first title update on the PS4, after positive reviews from PC players that had it a week previous, I’m not sure, but the game feels much harder since, defending seems to be more manual and the COM teams are closing down like Liverpool at Anfield on a European night, I’m having a tough time of it at present.