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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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.

 

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:

Condensed Highlights:

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.

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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 …….

Reds Resurgent

Firstly, apologies for the late post, I was away all weekend and only back Monday afternoon so hadn’t had time to prepare Mondays post, but here it is a day later.

 league.pngAs the league table above shows, we have mounted a resurgence, and thanks to a run of 6 wins from 8 games, have climbed up the table from 20th to 8th.
The only defeat in that run was a 4-0 Quarter final defeat away to Everton, to send us crashing out of the FA Cup.
Everton were just stronger, faster and more organised, you could really tell the difference in quality and the game really felt like an away FA Cup match against a big side, I love that about FIFA 19, the games all feel different.

During that run of 6 wins, we scored 3 several times and even a 4-1 win against Blackburn Rovers, we are playing well, scoring, and most importantly I think I’ve got a handle on FIFA’s defending.
Up until now defending has felt clunky, using the tactical defending system, has often felt like I was never in control of my defenders and just couldn’t get close enough to opposition players to defend effectively, but the key is not in pressuring all out and jumping in to tackles, but more jockeying, covering passing lanes and runs, and good timing of the tackle button, I’m getting much better at this as the goals against ratio during the 6 wins would show.

One of the teams despatched was Hull, grabbing a 3-0 victory, highlights of the best goals are shown below, a nice stretched chip shot from my CAM Goncalves, who is keeping Bojan out of the side, and the other goal was a well taken volley from Emmanuel Dennis, who is proving to be a great signing with his potency on front of goal.

The next match was against Sheffield Wednesday, the team placed level with us, on equal points and the other team in contention for a possible play-off place, in this respect it was a 6 pointer, and the commentary team hyped that match top by mentioning that it was a vital game in respect of play off positions.

FIFA 19 Career (In Menus)_1

We won that game 1-0, followed by wins against Blackburn and Villa, goal highlights can be seen at the bottom of the post.
It appears the board still aren’t happy though, despite achieving my objective of signing youth players to each of the outfield positions, and signing a crucial attacking player, my other key object was automatic promotion, and that is not possible, my trust rating currently sits at 60, and I have been notified that the board will soon be reviewing my position as their faith in me wanes.

I’m hoping to see out the season, there are only 4 games left, I can only finish 6th at best, it will be tough clawing back the 4pt deficit that Norwich have over us in that 6th, and final play-off position, but if we can achieve play-offs and promotion, I might just get to keep my job.

FIFA 19 continues to play a solid, enjoyable and very realistic game, you are rewarded for patient play and punished if you don’t focus and concentrate, and this is only in the EFL Championship, I can only imagine the big match atmosphere and carrying team play styles and skill levels are exponentially heightened in the Premier league and Europe.

Goal highlights from Villa, Blackburn & Sheff Weds games:

 

 

 

Leeds to the Slaughter

FIFA 19 Career (In Menus)_8.png

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.